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Memorial Service Remembers 1972 Flood

June 10, 2012, 10:02 PM by Derek Olson

Memorial Service Remembers 1972 Flood
RAPID CITY, SD -

Sunday's memorial service to remember and help mend 40-year-old wounds has been a long time coming.

"If I remember right, our first meeting was in November and it seemed like this day was a long way away.  But here it is.  And we've come to remember, to reflect, to give thanks, and to celebrate," service leader Pastor Larry Dahlstrom said.

"We are remembering not just the tragedy that occurred, but the choice that was made by our community at the time, to respond in a positive way," Rapid City's mayor Sam Kooiker said.

More than a half-dozen spiritual leaders from various religions spoke about what the flood means 40 years later.

Rev. Gerald Yellow Hawk sang a prayer in Lakota.

Pastors Ron and LaVonne Masters remembered being caught in the waters of Rapid Creek with their five children.

"I remember Steve said from the back seat.  He said, 'Dad, this is all in God's hands.'  And as a 12-year-old, what wisdom he had," Pastor LaVonne Masters said.

All three of the Masters' sons perished that night, yet their faith remains strong.

"We could not turn our back on God at this point.  We were Christians.  If you turn your back on God you have nothing.  So we decided to keep trusting God no matter what happened," LaVonne said.

But the service didn't dwell on the horrors of June 9.  It centered on the physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery that took place afterward.

"But then, what occurred?  The sun came out.  We saw the beautiful Dakota sun and beautiful Dakota sky.  It was as if God was saying to us, 'we can get through this,'" Monsignor William O'Connell said.

It's a faithful message that can be summed up by Psalms 29.

"The Lord rules over the floodwaters.  The Lord reigns as king forever.  The Lord gives his people strength.  The Lord blesses them with peace.  Amen," Pastor Ron Masters said.

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