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Pulaski Street School library named in memory of local war hero, Garfield Langhorn

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The Pulaski Street School library was named and dedicated yesterday in memory of Riverhead native PFC Garfield M. Langhorn.

A 1967 graduate of Riverhead High School — when the high school was located in the Pulaski Street building — Langhorn was killed in action in Vietnam on Jan. 15, 1969, when he threw himself on a live grenade to save his fellow soldiers during a rescue mission in Pleiku Province. He was just 20 years old. In recognition of his valor, Langhorn was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The solider’s mother Mary cut the ribbon on the second-floor library yesterday, following a ceremony in the school’s auditorium. School officials and community members gathered in the library for a reception after the ribbon-cutting.

0927_langhorn_copyA bronze plaque has been installed over the threshold of the library entrance, and a second plaque has been hung inside the library, under a print of an oil portait of Langhorn painted by the artist Gerald Slater. The painting was commissioned for the PFC Garfield M. Langhorn Post Office on West Main Street, which was named for Langhorn at a dedication ceremony on Sept. 27, 2009. The print was donated by the artist, who was on hand for yesterday’s ceremony and the reception following in the library.

The plaques and print will educate students about Langhorn and the values he had that enabled him to sacrifice himself to save others, Pulaski Street School principal David Densieski said. This is a goal shared by the PFC Garfield M. Langhorn Essay Contest, ongoing for the past six years, with the help Mrs. Langhorn, the principal said.

The library “will serve as an inspiration to students for many years to come,” schools superintendent Nancy Carney said.

The Riverhead Board of Education approved the dedication and naming of the library in Langhorn’s memory by resolution in January.

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PHOTO CAPTIONS

Top: The Rev. Charles Coverdale (left, facing camera) offers a prayer at the dedication of the PFC Garfield M. Langhorn Memorial Library at Pulaski Street School Sept. 16, 2011.

Bottom: Mary Langhorn, mother of the fallen war hero, left, cuts the ribbon on the library’s doors.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Sandra Kolbo, courtesy of Riverhead Central School District.

Center: Detail of portrait of PFC Langhorn by Gerald SlaterThe oil on canvas painting hangs in the PFC Garfiled M. Langhorn Riverhead NY Post Office, which was named in the soldier’s memory last year.