‘We are full of patriotism’: Cochran honors veterans with flags around city

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COCHRAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– The City of Cochran is honoring those who have served our country in a unique way for the Fourth of July amid the pandemic.

For the past three years, Sam Barrs has placed large American flags around Cochran and says this year is no different.

Barrs said, “Everybody is kind of down and out about the virus… I had someone tell me 30 minutes ago that it gave her chills when she rode down the street, and it does me too. Just think what it does for these guys that have served — that’s all I’m after. Just honoring those guys and if it makes them feel good — that’s great.”

The flags have gone up each Veteran’s Day and Independence Day since the program started. Each flag has the name of a service member and their branch.

A way to say “Thank You”

Barrs says he puts up the flags to say thank you to veterans and those currently in the military.

“I wanted to honor them right now,” Barrs said. “I’ve always looked up to them, and always thought the world of them. I regret that I didn’t serve, but now this is my way of giving back.”

Cochran Mayor Billy Yeomans says as a veteran, seeing the flags in his community gives him a sense of gratitude.

Yeomans said, “We are full of patriotism and we like to show it. When I ride up and down the street and see the flags it just does something to me, and a lot of people have the same sentiments.”

There are currently 311 flags around Cochran. Barrs hopes this project will continue to grow the city and spread to neighboring areas.

“It’s something that we’re going to do in Cochran and continue to do in Cochran just to honor these folks,” Barrs said.

To get a flag for a service member, visit Cochran City Hall and fill out an application. The person being honored must have lived in Bleckley County for at least one day. Each flag costs $100.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.