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Gibson writes: "Even though Carlos just ran 26.2 miles, he ran toward the injured runners when he saw the explosion and helped runners who had their legs blown off in the blast, applying the makeshift tourniquets out of the runners' clothes."

Carlos Arredondo (wearing cowboy hat) helps an injured man past the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Arredondo who lit himself on fire after learning that his son was killed in Iraq in 2004, had already completed the Boston Marathon when two explosions inspired him to come to the aid of others. (photo: Charles Krupa/AP)
Carlos Arredondo (wearing cowboy hat) helps an injured man past the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Arredondo who lit himself on fire after learning that his son was killed in Iraq in 2004, had already completed the Boston Marathon when two explosions inspired him to come to the aid of others. (photo: Charles Krupa/AP)


Carlos Arredondo, Boston and the World's Hero

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

16 April 13

 

I have had the honor of meeting Carlos Arredondo several times. I was always struck by his humility and commitment to making sure that others didn't have to suffer the same loss as he did when his son was killed in Iraq. I am not surprised to learn that he did not rush away from the scene of the explosions. Instead he did all he could to assist others. That is the Carlos we all came to know in the struggle against the wars, a true hero. SMG/RSN

 

s men, we're taught not to cry. But the story of Carlos Arredondo made me cry. Carlos, a Costa Rican immigrant, became a naturalized American citizen not long after hearing of his son's death in Iraq. But after his heroic actions in the chaos of the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon, Arredondo isn't merely an American hero, but the world's hero.

I don't know if I can imagine the pain of a man so driven by grief of his son's death in Iraq that he was driven to self-immolation. Or the anger felt by a father who watched his government ban war photos, including soldiers' coffins coming home, to win shallow political fights. Or the courage it takes to hear an explosion and see blood and run toward it to help others rather than run away to preserve your own life. But Carlos Arredondo is a shining example of what every human being of every nationality should aspire to be.

Carlos, a trained red cross volunteer, had already finished the Boston Marathon before the bombings and was sitting in the VIP section with his wife, Melida. Even though Carlos had just run 26.2 miles, he ran toward the injured runners when he saw the explosion and helped runners who had their legs blown off in the blast, applying the makeshift tourniquets out of the runners' clothes. One extremely graphic photo that looks like a war wound shows a runner in a wheelchair with half of his leg missing. A man is running in front, with a terrified look on his face as he eyes the runner's injury. Carlos Arredondo is the man in the cowboy hat steering the man's wheelchair with a determined look in his face, devoid of fear despite the gruesome, chaotic situation.

Carlos's 20 year-old son, Alexander S. Arredondo, was a Lance Corporal in the Marines. He died in 2004 during a battle in Najaf. Alexander was already serving his second tour in the war. It would be revealed the following year that Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the entire reason for the war, didn't actually exist. Carlos was celebrating his 44th birthday in Florida when the Marines approached his doorstep and informed him of his son's death in his own front yard. Carlos became so filled with despair that he doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire with a propane torch in an attempt to destroy the Marines' van. Even though roughly 1/4th of his body was covered with multiple second and third degree burns, he attended his son's funeral from his stretcher with two paramedics at his side.

In the New York Times profile of his recovery, Carlos was seen clutching the flag covering his son's coffin during the funeral and saying, "This is my whole world …This is my burden." Carlos became a peace activist after Alexander's death, determined to make sure soldiers' deaths were never forgotten. Arredondo rallied against President Bush's policy of banning photographs of flag-covered coffins containing dead soldiers. He also became an ally of the anti-gun violence movement, organizing a peace vigil in Newtown after the Sandy Hook shooting.

After his big brother's death in 2004, Carlos Arredondo's youngest son, Brian, sank into a deep depression and became addicted to drugs. Even though the Arredondo family attended grief counseling sessions, Brian Arredondo suffered still and attempted suicide in 2006. He ended up taking his own life just six days before Christmas in 2011 as the last troops were leaving Iraq. His bereaved dad was quoted, saying "We are broken hearts."

In Joan Livingston's interview with Carlos Arredondo on her YouTube channel posted not long after the explosions, Carlos is seen clutching a blood-soaked American flag. This iconic photo from a CNN slideshow shows Arredondo clutching that same bloody flag. Despite his country's unnecessary war of aggression, which killed his eldest son directly and his youngest son indirectly, and his government's attempts to censor coverage of his son's coffin coming home, Carlos is still a proud citizen clutching his nation's flag.

Even in the midst of nightmarishly violent chaos, the war-weary father rushed into blood and carnage to help his fellow human beings in danger.

The heroic Boston Marathon runners, Boston first responders, blood donors, and other volunteers on the scene of the destruction deserve our honor and respect. But Carlos Arredondo especially stands out as an example of what it means to come through for others when they're most in need.



Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+65 # lindyb 2013-04-16 06:59
"Despite his country's unnecessary war of aggression, which killed his eldest son directly and his youngest son indirectly, and his government's attempts to censor coverage of his son's coffin coming home, Carlos is still a proud citizen clutching his nation's flag."
I want to believe that Carlos Arredondo is the true heart of America. With citizens like him, I hope we can take back our government from those who corrupt it and do terrible things in our name.
 
 
+25 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-04-16 07:37
Why would a country, you know
"the greatest country in the world" which sent its terrorists to invde Iraq to control oil prices, masked under a big lie, then invavde Afghanistan for their lithium supplies and wonder, "why would terrorists attack us, huh?"
 
 
+6 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-04-16 11:33
I'm not being cynical yet people speak about this tragedy "will bring us together, enhance the values of our nation." And I'm truly sorry for the loss of life, injuries. On the other hand, if this tragedy will "bring us together and enhance the values of our nation," does this mean that we have to replay what happened on 9/11? Start another war to alleviate our anger and frustrations?
 
 
+53 # ellenf 2013-04-16 07:23
Carlos and Melida are amazing people, really gifted human beings who I have had the pleasure to know and work with, stand next to at Camp Alex at Occupy Boston and at various peace marches. I am sorry that they were separated for a few horrible minutes in the aftermath. May they know PEACE, PEACE, PEACE. They have had far too many of the burdens of war and tragedy and senselessness to share for a lifetime!Love to you both.
 
 
+29 # madams12 2013-04-16 07:49
All praise and honor to Carlos who I had the privilege of meeting in NM when he traveled the US to meet & work with Vets for Peace groups & others who actively tried to end the carnage in Iraq.
I was so moved by his story of the tragic death of Dondo @ Najaf & about the depth of Carlos' grief upon learning about his son..(near self immolation), that now, reading about son Brian's deep grief losing his brother, is unbearable to comprehend let alone that Carlos carved out meaning thru/despite enormous grief and suffering.
I offer my heartfelt appreciation to Carlos and Melida for all they do as citizens, activists & more so, as remarkable human beings. blessings all!
 
 
+25 # JoanWile2 2013-04-16 07:52
My heart breaks for Carlos, who attended a Granny Peace Brigade peace rally in Times Square a few years ago with a coffin draped with an American flag and with a coffin-length photo of his beautiful son pasted on the side. I cried then and I cry again == this time tears of admiration for his courageous act of life-saving to his own peril. Joan Wile, Grandmothers Against the War
 
 
+12 # billhabedank 2013-04-16 08:49
Carlos has always inspired me to continue being an activist for peace. Melinda too.
 
 
-8 # RobertMStahl 2013-04-16 09:16
Totalitarianism controls education through charity, thus controlling war, money and, finally, psychology.

Where is Indira Singh? Do we remember HER from 9/11? Why? Not scrambling is a good idea, I agree. Do you think the explosion in Boston is, specifically, designed to hide the gold manipulation that Paul Craig Roberts and Andrew Maguire have gotten on the radio waves about very recently? Terrorism is all about scrambling air space. Sounds like a win-win situation. Better ask Dick Cheney about the scrambling air space part. Remember Hurricane Erin on 9/11? Indira Singh, now missing?

http://www.kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2013/4/13_Andrew_Maguire.html

http://www.kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2013/4/14_Dr._Paul_Craig_Roberts.html


What about the late Joe Vialls?
The Emperor's New Virus? or the immunology of the late Francisco J. Varela.

The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Physics is waiting to be noticed, too.
 
 
+18 # giraffee2012 2013-04-16 10:07
Thank you Carlos Arredondo for you and your wife are hero and heroine in all aspects.

If any can - please send this article to "W", Cheney, Rummy, Rove, Rice, etc for they wear the badges of cowards.
 
 
+16 # seeuingoa 2013-04-16 10:11
A Boston bomb victim survivor when she woke up the morning after: "I thought it was a nightmare until I realised that it was all too true."

You remember the article of ralph Nader
some days ago with the photo of the
killed children after a droneattack?

I just wonder if the civilians in Yemen,Pakistan and Afghanistan don´t
have similar nightmares as this Boston girl.
 
 
+10 # KimNguyen 2013-04-16 11:51
A Correction:

AFAIK, Carlos did not run the marathon.

Yes, he is a true hero. He remains one of the kindest persons I have ever had the good fortune to know.
 
 
+7 # kelly 2013-04-17 05:50
Yeah I was gonna point out the same mistake. But I still love the Boston cowboy. Imagine, one kid dead in the war, one from suicide, handing out flags in their honor and then saving lives. That is one h*** of a tribute.
 
 
+5 # davideovinchi 2013-04-17 16:22
All the more reason that every single one of us and others with a shred of humanity do exactly the same in any similar situation.
 

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