Hundreds of American flags placed for Memorial Day were knocked over and damaged by flash flooding in McMinn County Tuesday night.

Businesses spent the early morning hours drying out their stores like Becky's Diner in Etowah where a foot of dark, muddy flood water filled the restaurant she just moved into three weeks ago.

"We used pumps, I used a broom sweeping it out of the front door and I constantly just walked through here so the mud wouldn't settle into the floor," she said.

She spent the day disinfecting the restaurant and said she plans on reopening Thursday.

Outside her diner, debris from flood water and across the street, the town's Memorial Display, mangled.

"It just came down so fast. It didn't last that long, so it filled up quickly and receded quickly but only after it did the damage," Durant Tullock said.

A team of volunteers spent the morning driving stakes back into the ground and fixing the display made up of nearly 400 flags, each representing a local veteran.

"Because these flags mean a lot more than just flags on pieces of pipe. Those people that gave their life for their country so give them the respect they deserve," Christian Spurgeon said.

Tullock is the Executive Director of the Etowah Chamber of Commerce.

He said flash flooding in this area is a re-occurring problem and said a nearby overgrown canal is to blame.

"There are so many rules and regulations now to what we can do and can't do in the canal as far as dropping in the equipment to clean it out," he said.

Tullock said state and federal regulations protect animals and wildlife in the canal and it's taking a toll on businesses in the area, like Becky's Diner, but they hope to find a solution soon.

Tullock said the city manager is going to be in touch with TDEC to find out what the options are and process to fix the problem.

We will let you know what happens.