Grieving Dad Honors His Late Sons By Attending Boston Marathon, Winds Up Helping Bombing Victims

Alexander Brian “Carlos” Arredondo (born Carlos Luis de Los Ángeles Arredondo Piedra in Costa Rica) has already been considered a hero by some for his work as a peace activist. When the cowboy hat-wearing Arredondo was photographed working diligently to save victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, however, he became a hero to many more.

Carlos Arredondo came to the Boston Marathon to honor his son who was killed in Iraq. He had abandoned his full-time job to protest the war, to become an American Red Cross volunteer and to campaign for peace, all which are causes that have become his life’s mission.

He didn’t expect to be thrust into another kind of war zone.

When the first bomb went off, he didn’t mistake it for a car backfiring, a transformer blowing or fireworks: Arredondo knew immediately what it was and sprang into action, and was not deterred from his attempts to help whomever he could even after the second bomb exploded minutes later.

He ran back to help more victims.

APTOPIX Boston Marathon Explosion

Arredondo (center) helping to rescue a stricken young man who has suffered a traumatic amputation from the bomb blasts.

The Hollywood Gossip reports:

After the explosions, the mourning father channeled his grief into heroism when he tended to wounds that resembled the ones that claimed his boy’s life.

Arredondo was waiting to greet the National Guard runners and a suicide support group, organizations that honor his two dead sons, ABC reports.

Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo died in Iraq in 2004. His other son, Brian, battled years of depression after his brother died and committed suicide in 2011.



Arredondo holding aloft a photo of his late son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo.

In many photographs of the Boston Marathon tragedy, Arredondo is seen rushing toward the bomb sites, removing his own clothing to staunch bleeding and bind victims’ injuries, helping to rush a grievously wounded man in a wheelchair–who appears to have lost his legs in one of the blasts–towards medical personnel, and working valiantly to try to pinch closed bleeding arterial gashes, all done without any apparent concern for his own personal safety.

The Washington Post elaborates:

Arredondo had been a Boston Marathon spectator, carrying a camera and a small American flag. He dropped the flag. He took four pictures — focusing on a young man crumpled on the sidewalk. The man had a blank expression, and a leg that was only bone below the knee. Then Arredondo put the camera away. He asked the injured man his name.

“Stay still,” he remembered saying, in accented English. “The ambulance is here.”

In the moments after Monday’s bomb attacks, there were bystanders who defied human instinct — and official orders to evacuate — and ran toward the smoke, instead of away. There was a Kansas doctor who ran back to help after completing 26.2 miles. A District native who ran down from a post-race party to apply tourniquets. A couple who tried to stop a stranger’s bleeding with a wad of coffee-shop napkins. And, most astoundingly, there was Arredondo — a man once so broken by grief that his breaking made national news.

First, his son died in Iraq. Then, when Marines came to tell him so, Arredondo set himself on fire inside the Marines’ van. Then, years later, as he was healing, his other son committed suicide. But Monday — for some reason — when the bombs went off, the broken man came running.

“I did my duty,” Arredondo said the next morning.


Arredondo recovering a blood-stained American flag from one of the bombing sites.


He certainly did.

A grieving father, an immigrant from Costa Rica, a peace activist, a diligent volunteer worker, and an all-American hero: thank you, Carlos.


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