Army Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel, killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan, was laid to rest Wednesday morning in Arlington National Cemetery in a service with full military honors.
Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson said Thursday his son and granddaughter who live in the Washington area, "attended to pay respects as representatives of the people of Madison and Guilford. Their description follows:"
Andrew Pedersen-Keel was laid to rest this morning at Arlington National Cemetery. Under a breezy blue sky family, friends, and fellow service members paid their respects to the Army Special Forces Captain who served 3 tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Attendees and their vehicles completely filled the waiting area at the Memorial Gate before proceeding to an open hilltop where a waiting horse-drawn caisson received the casket under a full honor guard. The large crowd then followed the caisson to Andrew’s final resting place and listened to a moving service by the Army Chaplain before the rifle salute and the playing of Taps. At the close of the ceremony the folded flag was presented to Andrew’s family and the attendees dispersed.
According to Capt. Pedersen-Keel's obituary, he was killed on Monday, March 11, 2013 in Afghanistan.
Andrew is the son of Helen Pedersen Keiser and Bob Keiser of Madison and Henry Keel of Pompano Beach, FL and a sister, Mary Elizabeth Keel. Also survived by his fiance, Celeste Pizza and many loving, close family and friends. Andrew was born June 8, 1984 in South Miami, FL. Andrew grew up in Madison ... Burial with Full Military Honors will be held in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA on Wed. March 27 at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 66675, www.woundedwarriorproject.org, or to Special Forces Charitable Trust, c/o David T. Guernsey Jr., Executive Director, PO Box 53, Essex, CT 06426,specialforcescharitabletrust.org/donate.
Arlington National Cemetery serves as the "final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families," according to a fact sheet on the Arlington National Cemetery website:
Service to country is the common thread that binds all who are remembered and honored here. Arlington is both a national treasure and an active cemetery ... Laying our Nation’s veterans and their eligible family members to rest with honor and respect, while treating their loved ones with dignity and compassion, is the cornerstone of Arlington National Cemetery’s mission. It’s not uncommon for those visiting the cemetery to see a horsedrawn caisson carrying an American flag-draped casket, hear the firing of three rifle volleys in the distance, or feel a lump in theirthroat as a lone bugler plays the 24 lingering notes of Taps. These honors remind us of service, sacrifice and valor – and are examples of the dignified way we take care of those who have defended and protected our freedoms.
Here are some of our earlier stories on Capt. Pedersen-Keel:
- Newtown Artist Paints for Fallen Madison Soldier
- Friday Last Chance To Sign Condolence Book For U.S. Army Capt. Pedersen-Keel At Madison Town Hall
- U.S. And Connecticut Flags Ordered To Fly At Half-Staff To Honor Madison Man Killed In Afghanistan
- "With Deep Sadness And Regret We Learn Of The Death In Afghanistan Of Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel"