He created a scholarship in Alex’s name at his son’s high school alma mater and sent care packages to soldiers in Iraq. One of the most gripping images of his pain was a makeshift memorial to his son, a coffin containing his military boots, uniform and his Purple Heart. Arredondo hauled the mobile memorial across 26 different states.
“As long as there are Marines fighting and dying in Iraq, I’m going to share my mourning with the American people,” he once told The New York Times.
A native of Costa Rica, Arredondo immigrated to the United States when he was 19. He worked as a bus driver, a landscaper and handyman. In 1983, he married his first wife, Victoria, and a year later, Alex was born. Their second son, Brian, was born in 1987. The couple divorced and Victoria moved to Maine with the boys. Arredondo remained in Boston and remarried. In 2002, before finishing high school, Alex enlisted in the Marines. He served nine months until August 2003, but was called back to duty in May 2004.
Arredondo and his new wife, Melida, moved to Florida, settling into a modest house at 5430 Tyler St. in Hollywood. They had been living there only three months when the Marines arrived in dress blues.
The Arredondos returned to Boston to be closer to Brian, who was despondent over his brother’s death. He suffered from severe depression and was getting into trouble with police.
The family’s efforts to get him treatment failed. In 2011, Brian Arredondo killed himself. He was 24.
“We are broken hearts,’’ Carlos Arredondo told The Boston Herald a month after Brian’s suicide.
But today, he’s “a real hero,” a witness told ABC News after watching Arredondo charge toward the carnage.
“He jumped right over the fence even before there were police and tried to help people.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.