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Day Of Remembrance for the Teton Dam Disaster

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI)- The city of Rexburg spent Saturday in remembrance of the disastrous day on June 5, 1976. The day started at 4am with dozens as marathon runners filling the streets from the dam site to Smith park in down town Rexburg.

Mayor Jerry Merrill says the Teton Dam Marathon commemorates the resilience the people of the area during the town's recovery. He says "The Teton dam marathon of course is to commemorate the kind of the reconstruction or all of the cooperation that happened and to celebrate all of the volunteers and all of the way the community pulled together when when that dam broke and that disaster happened."

After the marathon, people gathered at the Romance Theater on Main Street to share thier storys about that day. One woman shared how she was still in the hospital after the birth of her first child when the damn broke, and how well the medical teams reacted. "The hospital was crazy at the time." She says, "They bring the babies to us, and they said, You need to take care of the babies. Because we've got to get ready in case any people come in because of the disaster."

Another man shared how while he was on air at the local radio station, he was able to get his manager to describe just how the dam disaster started. He goes on to tell us, "I did not have the presence or the time to even throw on a tape and record what he was saying, but just about well, in his own day, I don't know if he was using a phone in the dam or anything else, and all of a sudden nothing. And I thought, well, there's got to be more information coming in."

For hours, others also shared their memories and asked questions about that fateful day.

The Museum of Rexburg is still interested in collecting more first hand accounts for the events of the day. if you have a story to share you can either email the museum at museum@rexburg.org or you can call (208) 359-3063 to share it.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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