The sound of bagpipes and silence filled the air at Friday as family members, students, school officials, and dignitaries came together to honor fallen soldier —the first KSU alumnus killed in battle.
. He went on to attend Kennesaw State, where he graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management. In 2010, he decided to join the Army.
He died in Afghanistan of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was a platoon leader assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
“I remember him singing and rapping in my car,” said a friend of Walsh’s from North Cobb High, who did not want to be identified. Another friend said he played baseball with Walsh and they rode the bus together to school. “He was always a leader. I’m better off for having been around him.”
said he had a mix of emotions while honoring Walsh. “Gratitude, sadness and thanksgiving,” said Papp. “But I also have great pride for his military service. Because of his service, he gives students here today the freedom to go to school.”
During a ceremonial roll call, several names were called, followed by the answer, “Present.” When Walsh’s name was called—not once, not twice, but three times—there was complete silence.
Among those present at Friday's ceremony was Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Frank Wills, director of the . The mostly student-run center helps military members transition into college and has made strides to make the university a veteran-friendly campus.
Kennesaw State has seen its veteran population double the past two years.
University officials said they will plant a tree on campus in the fall in memory of Walsh, and will honor him again during another planned military event.