RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fifty years ago, a Riverhead, Long Island native made the ultimate sacrifice, saving his platoon during the Vietnam War.
On Monday, elected officials unveiled his U.S. Postal Service stamp, which will help save those who have served, CBS2’s Tara Jakeway reported.
On Jan. 15, 1969, Pfc. Garfield Langhorn threw himself on a live grenade, saving the lives of all his platoon mates. On Monday, Martin Luther King Day, the Purple Heart recipient received another posthumous honor witnessed by a sea of green.
“Today was a great day to be able to come here and honor Garfield Langhorn, especially on Martin Luther King Day,” said William Hughes, the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Suffolk County commander.
Jeffrey Langhorn brought his own tribute to his cousin on Monday.
“I’m very proud that he did what he did at that age. I don’t know what I would’ve done,” Jeffrey Langhorn said. “It was great that he sacrificed his life for others.”
Congressman Lee Zeldin unveiled legislation for a Garfield M. Langhorn semipostal stamp. The proposed stamp would feature Langhorn’s likeness at 60 cents a pop. The proceeds after postage would go to Supportive Services for Veteran Families, a fitting tribute to a man that gave all he had to his fellow service members.
“They put all kinds of stuff on stamps, but this is really meaningful. This is somebody who served this country and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Vietnam veteran Robert Robesch said.
For just 11 cents more than a standard stamp, those who buy it would be giving back on his behalf.
“They’re not only keeping a very important memory and legacy of a Medal of Honor recipient alive, but the excess money is going to help a veteran in need,” Rep. Zeldin said.
It was a packed house at the Pfc. Garfield M. Langhorn Post Office, named in his honor. Among the speakers was Doris Eve of East Patchogue.
Eve’s husband was in Langhorn’s platoon that fateful day.
“If it wasn’t for Garfield, I wouldn’t have the wonderful life that I have,” Eve said. “We have three wonderful children. We have eight grandchildren.”
One of whom bares the name of the fallen hero — 7-year-old Benjamin Rodney Garfield Eve has a special bond with the man that saved his grandfather.
“I just feel like, like he’s with me all the time,” Benjamin said.
The Eve family joined forces with the Langhorns Monday to support the special stamp.
Zeldin said there should be no reason why the stamp should not be in production in the next few months or even weeks. He just needs other lawmakers to hop on board.
Pfc. Garfield is the only Vietnam war Medal of Honor recipient from Suffolk County.