FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A Florence family continues to remember their war hero, decades after World War II. And now, they feel like he has finally come home.
"Landing with his company in Iwo Jima on the 21st of February 1945, Corporal Boykin repeatedly led assaults against the enemy," Lynne Boykin reads aloud. Her uncle, Corporal Ray Boykin, gave his life fighting the war in Iwo Jima.
His final moments are captured in that letter, written to the Boykin family back in 1945.
"My uncle Billy was only 9 years old when he went to the bus station with my grandfather, that was the last time he saw Uncle Ray," remembers Ms. Boykin.
While Cpl. Ray Boykin was abroad, he was fatally wounded in Japan.
"He did receive two purple hearts, the valor medal, and various others," says Ms. Boykin.
But the family never received his war medals.
"I can imagine the day that my dad came home and found out my Uncle Ray didn't make it," says Ms. Boykin.
With only one surviving brother, Lynne wanted the family to finally have her uncle's medals. She said it is a way to remember and honor the man who gave his life for his country.
Ms. Boykin began writing letters to the U.S. Naval Service, asking for the medals.
"Now, more than 60 years later, we finally have those medals in hand. So, this is the perfect ending to our story," says Ms. Boykin.
The family just received Cpl. Boykin's medals, and Ms. Boykin decided to surprise Cpl. Boykin's surviving brother, Billy, with the gift.
"We said, 'we have a surprise for you.' And we presented him with the medals. He just looked at me and said 'you'll never know what this means to me.'"
Lynne Boykin never had the chance to meet her Uncle Ray, but is inspired by what he gave for our country, for her family. She says, even today, it feels like he is still with them.
"Just having these in your hands, you can say now that everything is complete," says Ms. Boykin about the medals.
It's a memory they can now hold in their hands, and the Boykin family is very grateful for finally receiving the war medals of Cpl. Ray Boykin.
"What he gave for our country, for us, even today, years later we still feel like he's with us," says Ms. Boykin.
She smiles every time she drives by the National Cemetery, knowing her uncle died a hero.
"When you go into the National Cemetery and you see how many people, and how quickly its filling up now...but, its just such an honor," says Ms. Boykin.
Just last year, the family was able to celebrate Cpl. Boykin at the cemetery, after he finally had a finished head stone.
"We appreciate everything that these men and women do in the military, and we need to keep this alive," says Ms. Boykin.
It has been a long journey for Cpl. Ray Boykin to be completely laid to rest. His family says receiving his medals was one last step in bringing him home to them.
Friday, May 24 2013 4:13 AM EDT2013-05-24 08:13:07 GMT
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.Robert Donald Holden, Jr, of Hephzibah, was pronounced dead at the scene on the 3500 blockMore >>
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:16 AM EDT2013-05-24 04:16:12 GMT
Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
Friends and neighbors now say the Jones Family, Edna, Roosevelt, and Russell, are the victims of a suspected triple homicide in South Augusta.The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has been investigatingMore >>
The Richmond County Sheriff Office has charged Ryan David Jones with 3 counts of Murder and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:43:19 GMT
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.That's off of Deans Bridge Road.Residents in the area say that two people were shot and taken to the hospital.More >>
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:07:55 GMT
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening. "It hit me hard because this was like another family to me," saidMore >>
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:53:59 GMT
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.The Aiken County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 7:30pm Thursday evening about a pedestrian beingMore >>
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:03 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:03:57 GMT
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defenseMore >>
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defense attorney who represented one of the GTMO prisoners. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 4:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 20:38:55 GMT
For 12 years Denise Glasford's sister fought in the Army, but died last year on Memorial Day. "Thinking about her and wishing she was still here with us," Glasford said. "It's been a tough year for the family." GlasfordMore >>
Glasford and her niece and nephew are three of dozens of family members paying tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here at Fort Gordon's Warrior Remembrance Memorial Day Ceremony, they're honoring those killed, and remembering those they left behind. Soldiers say the national holiday is much more than a day off from work to barbeque and celebrate.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:10 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:10:07 GMT
The images we're seeing in Oklahoma having a heavy impact on viewers around the country and here in the CSRA. Lindsay Findley says she was heartbroken when she found out about it. "It's just so sad toMore >>
Thirty disaster relief volunteers and vehicles have been sent to Oklahoma; three of them from the Palmetto region. And at any moment, volunteers with the Aiken chapter could be deployed.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:34:56 GMT
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it. The parking limit downtown has beenMore >>
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:20:40 GMT
A vigil for the family members killed in a suspected triple homicide was held at the Augusta Deliverance Evangelical Church Wednesday night. The vigil for Roosevelt Jones, Edna Jones and their son Russell JonesMore >>
A vigil for the family members killed in a suspected triple homicide was held at the Augusta Deliverance Evangelical Church Wednesday night.More >>