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Former President Bill Clinton is cheered on by supporters following his speech in downtown Grand Forks at the flood obelisk. Former Grand Forks mayor Pat Owens and other city officials from the flood of 1997 in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks join Clinton on stage. Eric Hylden / Forum Communications Co.

Thousands turn out in Grand Forks to thank Clinton for flood help

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Former President Bill Clinton said he was "crippled" and using crutches the last time he visited Grand Forks on April 22, 1997, to deliver a speech at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

And in a way, he told about 2,000 residents of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks on Saturday, "so were you" -- much of the community was under water that day, flooded by the Red River that climbed to a record crest of 54.35 feet.

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