Hero's Tragic Life Led Him to Iconic Marathon Photo

Carlos Arredondo's son was killed in Iraq, other son committed suicide

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 16, 2013 8:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – Carlos Arredondo was waiting at the Boston Marathon finish line for runners who were racing on behalf of fallen soldiers—one of those fallen soldiers being Arredondo's son—and handing out American flags when the blast went off across the street. He ran to help injured spectators, including one man whose legs were blown off. Arredondo can be seen, wearing a cowboy hat, in an iconic photo in the gallery (warning: It's graphic), apparently holding the man's severed artery, NBC News reports. "I kept talking to him. I kept saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me,'" Arredondo tells Maine's Portland Press Herald.

Another widely-circulated photo shows Arredondo, who is reportedly a Red Cross disaster team member, carrying one of his American flags, soaked with blood. But this is far from the first tragic twist in Arredondo's life, as NBC News points out after delving through past media coverage of the Costa Rica native. He lost his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, during the 20-year-old's second tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. Arredondo got the news on his 44th birthday, and immediately climbed inside the Marine Corps van and set it afire, burning himself severely. He became a peace activist and started sharing his son's story via a mobile memorial in his pickup truck that he drives around the country, and in 2007 he was beaten at a Washington anti-war demonstration. Four years later, his other son, Brian, killed himself at 24. He had struggled with depression and drug addiction after his brother's death, Mother Jones reports; he was facing jail at the time of his suicide. "We are broken people," Arredondo told the Boston Herald last year. But today, he's "a real hero," a bystander tells ABC News. "He jumped right over the fence even before there were police and tried to help people."

Carlos Arredondo, whose son was killed in Iraq, is shown at a Memorial Day event sponsored in part by the groups Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out, May 31, 2010, in Boston.
Carlos Arredondo, whose son was killed in Iraq, is shown at a Memorial Day event sponsored in part by the groups Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out, May 31, 2010, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Carlos Arredondo of Boston carries his son's boots during an event to honor the sacrifices of the fallen and their families on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.
Carlos Arredondo of Boston carries his son's boots during an event to honor the sacrifices of the fallen and their families on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Carlos Arredondo of Boston carries his son's boots during an event to honor the sacrifices of the fallen and their families on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.
Carlos Arredondo of Boston carries his son's boots during an event to honor the sacrifices of the fallen and their families on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A shirt belonging to soldier Alexander Arrdedondo, who was killed at the age of 20 during his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, at a Memorial Day ceremony in Miami Beach, Fla., May 25, 2009.
A shirt belonging to soldier Alexander Arrdedondo, who was killed at the age of 20 during his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, at a Memorial Day ceremony in Miami Beach, Fla., May 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Melida Arredondo, center, remembers her stepson Alexander Arredondo at a Memorial Day ceremony in Miami Beach, Fla., May 25, 2009.  At left is her husband and Alexander's father Carlos Arredondo.
Melida Arredondo, center, remembers her stepson Alexander Arredondo at a Memorial Day ceremony in Miami Beach, Fla., May 25, 2009. At left is her husband and Alexander's father Carlos Arredondo.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, center, joined by wife Elizabeth, left, speaks with Carlos Arredondo, right, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 at an anti-war rally in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, center, joined by wife Elizabeth, left, speaks with Carlos Arredondo, right, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 at an anti-war rally in Kennebunkport, Maine.   (AP Photo/Joel Page)
Carlos Arredondo holds an American flag and his US passport after he spoke, Sept. 12, 2007, at the National Press Club  in Washington. WARNING: NEXT IMAGE IS GRAPHIC.
Carlos Arredondo holds an American flag and his US passport after he spoke, Sept. 12, 2007, at the National Press Club in Washington. WARNING: NEXT IMAGE IS GRAPHIC.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Medical responders run an injured man past the finish line the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Medical responders run an injured man past the finish line the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
Carlos Arredondo in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon explosion.   (prfatal)
Carlos Arredondo can be seen around the 2:00 mark in this video, helping victims. WARNING: GRAPHIC.   (thebostonglobe)

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next »
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
1%
6%
9%
82%
0%
2%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment