When Carlos Arredondo took his place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, he was likely planning to cheer on the runners racing in honor of both of his sons who had passed away. Little did he know that Boylston Street was about to explode before his eyes, and that he would become one of the very first people to aid the victims of Monday’s bombing.
According to NBC Latino, Arredondo was supporting the runners honoring his son, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, who was killed during a firefight in Iraq in 2004, and his other son, Brian, who committed suicide in 2011 after struggling with depression over his brother’s death.
After his son was killed in Iraq, he quit his job to become activist and protest the war.
In an interview from 2007 with the New York Times he said, “As long as there are Marines fighting and dying in Iraq, I’m going to share my mourning with the American people.” To honor his son, Arredondo drives a mobile memorial, which includes a coffin filled with photos of his son and his favorite personal belongings.
Arredondo is pictured in one of the more iconic photos from the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings, HuffPost Impact reported. He is shown wearing a cowboy hat alongside two other first-responders. They are seen pushing a victim, who has lost his leg in the explosion, in a wheelchair. In the photo, Arredondo appears to be pinching shut an artery protruding from the victim’s thigh.
Trying to keep the victim alert, he repeatedly told him, “Stay with me, stay with me.”
“My first reaction was to run toward the people,” Arredondo said. “There was so much commotion and a lot of people running away. I was one of the first to help people and God protected me.”
In a video interview with The Daily Free Press, Arredondo said, “There was blood everywhere. . . there was a big puddle of blood. And then all you see was people without limbs.”
The scene, he put simply, was “horrific.”
(Photo by the AP)