Carlos Arredondo ran to help victims after the first blast occurred. (Source: Raceinxs/Wikimedia)
(RNN) - The man who was interviewed by local media after helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, causing his American flag to become covered in blood, is the father of a marine who was killed in Iraq.
"That was the flag I was holding the whole time and this is how the flag ended up, carrying the blood of all the victims," said Carlos Arredondo, who ran to help victims after the first blast occurred.
Wearing a cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo, 52, was one of the first people on the scene to help victims of the attack. He is seen in several videos and photographs helping people who were severely injured form the blasts.
Unfortunately, Arredondo has known tragedy before. In 2004, his son, Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, 20, was killed in Iraq. When Marines came to Carlos Arredondo's home to deliver the news, he was struck with so much grief that he snapped and set himself on fire.
"[Carlos] Arredondo went to his garage, picked up a propane tank, a can of gasoline and a blowtorch," reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Despite initial attempts to stop him, he smashed the van's window, got inside and set it ablaze, police said. In the process, he was set on fire as well."
Carlos Arredondo burned more than 26 percent of his body and had to attend his son's funeral on a stretcher with a paramedic at his side.
He was attending the Boston Marathon to cheer on a runner who dedicated his participation to Alexander Arredondo, according to Mother Jones.
In the years since the loss of his son, Carlos Arredondo has become an anti-war protester. Traveling the country with a flag-covered coffin in his truck, along with several of his son's favorite things, including a soccer ball and a Winnie the Pooh, reported the New York Times.
"Every day we have G.I.'s being killed, and people don't really care enough or do enough to protest about how the war is going," Carlos Arredondo told the Times in 2007. "Some people say I'm dishonoring my son by doing this, but this is my pain, my loss."
Originally from Costa Rica, Carlos Arredondo now lives in Boston, where he and his wife, Mélida, advocate for military families and speak out against the effects of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"We continue talking about Alex and Brian because we don't want them forgotten," Mélida Arredondo said, according to the Tico Times. "It turns into a number or a monument, like the Vietnam War, and past that, people forget. We're here to say ‘no.' War impacts all of our lives."
Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Friday, April 18 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:21:35 GMT
With an expanded field of runners and the memory of last year's bombings elevating interest in one of the world's greatest races, the 2014 Boston Marathon could bring an unprecedented wave of visitors and...More >>
With an expanded field of runners and the memory of last year's bombings elevating interest in one of the world's great races, the 2014 Boston Marathon could bring an unprecedented wave of visitors and an influx of...More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 1:12 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:12:03 GMT
Relatives of the police officer authorities say was killed by the Boston bombing suspects are remembering him a year later.More >>
Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life - and then died doing it, becoming a central character in the gripping hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing...More >>
A year after homemade bombs ripped through the Boston Marathon, state and federal officials have enacted virtually no policy changes in response to the attack, a dramatic departure from previous acts of terrorism...More >>
A year after homemade bombs ripped through the Boston Marathon, state and federal officials have enacted virtually no policy changes in response to the attack, a dramatic departure from previous acts of terrorism that...More >>
Police stepped up patrols near the Boston Marathon finish line after a masked man walked in the street with a rice cooker in his backpack only hours after the city marked the anniversary of last year's deadly...More >>
The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.More >>
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) have told a judge that understanding their client's family is key to their case.More >>
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said Wednesday that understanding Tsarnaev's family is key to their case, offering a glimpse of the defense strategy as they prepare to defend him against...More >>