South Florida

Ruck to Remember: South Florida Woman Honors Brother Killed in Afghanistan on Memorial Day

To honor her brother killed in Afghanistan one South Florida woman did her best to walk in his footsteps on Memorial Day weekend.

Mary Keel joined families whose loved ones also died during military service in a 60-mile trek to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

The event, called the Ruck to Remember, symbolizes the hikes soldiers take with their gear. On Monday was the final push for Keel and others.

Keel's brother, Army Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel, was born at South Miami Hospital and went on to West Point. On March 11, 2013, he was briefing his troops when a person dressed as an Afghan police officer started shooting.

Mary Keel first saw on social media that a special forces captain had been killed, then came word it was her brother.

"I remember the day so vividly," she said. "It's difficult. I mean, it's one of those things where until you are in that situation, until you have that experience, you don't know how you are going to handle it."

Capt. Pedersen-Keel lives on in his sister's spirit and home. There are reminders everywhere of the elite special forces soldier who was highly decorated for his combat tours.

The 60 miles represents the area of Arlington known as Area 60. It's the final resting place for Americans who died during their service in Afghanistan. And the event is a fitting remembrance for Memorial Day.

"It's an important day, it's a day that I think we need to remember not just my brother but all those that serve," Keel said.

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