SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - After 73 years of waiting, East Texas WWII veteran Raymond Hopson was finally presented with the Bronze Star of Valor Friday afternoon.
Hopson served his country honorably, fighting bravely in Europe, where he earned the award in battle. However, after coming home from the war, he was never given the medal.
"He was in a hurry to get away from there and come home," said Raymond Hopson, Hopson's son. "He received it on paper, but he was never physically presented with one."
A few months ago, Hopson's family contacted their United States Representative Brian Babin's office and told them what happened.
"He and his secretary jumped on it, got it for us, and we could not be more grateful," Hopson said.
Congressman Babin, a veteran himself, wanted the honor of giving the medal to Hopson, with his family, friends and fellow veterans present.
"It makes me swell with pride to come up here and present the Bronze Star of Valor, courage under fire, t a man, 90-years-old, 73 years after that battle," Babin said.
For Hopson, to finally receive that medal that he waited so long for, meant everything, a mutual feeling shared by his son.
"I can say that probably it was one of the most important days of my life because I know he's been waiting so long," Hopson said.
During the ceremony, a woman in the crowd came up, tears in her eyes, and told a story of how she was born and raised in France. She said if it wasn't for Hopson helping liberate her home country during the war, she and her family wouldn't be here, making the moment even more special for Hopson and his family.
"That just goes to show you that when people fight for the cause of freedom, there are people that are truly thankful," Hopson said.
Hopson was also awarded The Purple Heart, but never received it. Babin and his staff are currently working on getting the medal for Hopson.