9/11 veteran to speak at Memorial Day service

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on May 23, 2012 - 03:32 PM

Memorial Day services to honor and remember veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces are planned Sunday in both Gloucester and Mathews. Both programs are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

In Gloucester, the service, hosted by Post 75, will be held in front of the Courts Building, with wreaths to be laid at the Gloucester County Veterans Memorial. The Gloucester High School NJROTC will present Colors.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 John P. Walsh, a helicopter pilot with the Virginia Army National Guard, will be keynote speaker at Sunday’s ceremony.

On Sept. 11, 2001, then a member of the New York Army National Guard, Walsh piloted one of the few aircraft authorized to continue flying after the national airspace was closed.

On that day, he flew within sight of both the Flight 93 crash site and over the World Trade Center site, making him an eyewitness to the immediate aftermath of each of those events.

After his initial activation to take part in the World Trade Center recovery mission, he has been deployed oversees three times, participating in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

In December 2011, Walsh returned from Iraq, where he was part of one of the last three aviation units to depart that country.