Riverhead’s only Medal of Honor recipient will soon be honored at a naming ceremony Friday in the very building where he attended high school more than 40 years ago.
The Pulaski Street School library will be renamed in honor of U.S. Army Private First Class Garfield M. Langhorn, who was killed during a rescue mission in Pleiku Province, Vietnam in 1969. Pfc. Langhorn jumped on a live grenade, shielding his comrades from the blast and died instantly. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The school will host an assembly at 10 a.m. in the auditorium. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in the newly dedicated library at 10:30 a.m.
A bronze plaque will be placed near the library’s entrance and another bronze plaque bearing the details of Pfc. Langhorn’s life will be installed near the door. Inside the library, there will be two framed pictures of Pfc. Langhorn.
“I think it’s long overdue,” said Pfc. Langhorn’s mother 87-year-old Mary, who plans on attending Friday’s ceremony.
The school has held an essay contest in Pfc. Langhorn’s memory for years but is just now naming a part of the building after him.
Pulaski Street principal David Densieski said he hopes the spirit of Pfc. Langhorn, who attended Pulaski Street in the 1960s, when it was still Riverhead High School, would continue for decades.
“We wanted this to live beyond all of us,” he said at a school board meeting in January.
The Riverhead post office was renamed in Pfc. Langhorn’s honor last September as was Maple Avenue in Riverhead earlier this year. The Riverhead school board unanimously approved the name change at a school board meeting in January, which was attended by Pfc. Langhorn’s mother, Mary.
“I think this will be inspiration for students for many years to come,” superintendent Nancy Carney said at the time.