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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Father Loses Second Son

By: Alex Ashlock

Carlos Arredondo lost one of his two sons in Iraq. Twenty-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo was killed in Najaf in 2004.

Now his other son, Brian Arredondo, is also gone. Brian apparently committed suicide on Monday. He was 24.

When the Marines came to Arredondo’s home in 2004 to deliver the news about Alexander, he became so distraught that he poured gasoline in the Marine vehicle and set it and himself on fire. The Marines who had come to his home saved him. Carlos called them his “angels in camouflage.”

In the years since, Carlos and his wife Melida became very visible advocates for military families in the Boston area. Carlos, so familiar for his pickup truck with a flag-draped coffin in the bed, representing his son’s.

In memory of Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. (Anna Miller/Here & Now)

In memory of Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. (Anna Miller/Here & Now)

The last time I saw them was Memorial Day weekend. They had come to the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne to help another Massachusetts family mourn its own loss. Paul Monti of Raynham, Massachusetts had gathered thousands of volunteers to put flags on all the veterans’ graves there, including his son’s. Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Carlos and Melida came to help and brought Alexander’s boots and a photo of him, and propped them up against a tree in the cemetery.

Carlos Arredondo was on Here and Now in 2007. He was a native of Costa Rica and he had finally become an American citizen, with the help of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

When he did that, he had his named legally changed. “I changed my name after my first born Alexander and my second born Brian,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “So my name now is Alexander Brian Arredondo. And for me to honor my boys with their own names is wonderful.”

A candlelight vigil will be held for Brian at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. Tuesday night.


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  • Khigh61

    I have known Carlos for almost 20 years.  I remember Alex and Brian as little boys playing in their Jamaica Plain backyard.  The loss of Alex and now Brian must be so painful and devastating for Carlos since he has always been an extremely loving and supportive dad.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Carlos and Melida.  Brian is now in heaven with Alex.  I won’t be able to go to the vigil but please know Carlos that I am there in spirit. From your “neighbor” Kathy High(formerly Cowhig)

  • Nina Douglass

    At the candlelight vigil for Brian Arredondo last night, a speaker who had known the gentle young man for years noted that he had “never been the same” since losing his brother at age 17 (Alex, a US Marine, was killed in combat in Iraq).   Kevin Lucey, of Belchertown, father of Jeffrey Lucey, spoke of his own, 23 year old son, who returned from military service in Iraq in 2004 suffering from PTSD, and killed himself after being turned away from the VA where he sought help.  Kevin and Joyce Lucey, like Carlos and Melida Arredondo, have tirelessly spoken out about the devastating impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on our troops and their families.  Years go by, one war is declared over, yet still returned soldiers struggle with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, unemployment, addictions and homelessness because needed services and resources are inadequate or unavailable to them.   Their family members are impacted forever, and some, like Brian, do not find peace.  

    Nina Douglass
    Step-mother of a U.S. Marine Sergeant
    Member, Military Families Speak Out

  • Debw1216

    So very, very sad.  Not all casualties of war are soldiers.  Some fight their own battles here.  My heart breaks for this wonderful family.  Carlos and Melida are warriors, fighting the battle and have paid the ultimate sacrifice, not once but twice.  Their boys are now together but the hole in Carlos and Melida’s hearts are double in size.

  • Guest

    My thoughts go out to Carlos and Vicky. I can’t imagine losing not one but two sons senselessly.  I hope they can find peace knowing that their boys are together once again.

  • ARVIND SINGH

    Unbelievable….how much pain a parent can bear??? I have filmed Carlos in DC….VERY PROFOUND.

  • http://twitter.com/MEventsbyDesign MaineEventsbyDesign

    It is our duty as Americans to reach out to our returning soldiers and their families to be their support, their shoulder to lean on and most importantly their guiding hand. PTSD is oft un or misdiagnosed or allowed to be pushed aside (part of the problem!). Their boys are a credit to their upbringing. My heart goes out to this amazing family and pray for peace in their hearts. 

  • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

    Thanks for all your comments about this very sad story.  A wake for Brian will held on Tuesday, December 27 at Mann and Rodgers Funeral Home in Jamaica Plain. The funeral mass is Wednesday, December 28 at St. Thomas Aquinas in JP.   

  • candy n jose rosado

    Carlos n vikkie I’m sorry for ur lost I remember as little kids jose my brother n I always jumped over the fence to play with alex n brian on the swing carlos n u put up I can’t believe that they r gone my family n I will always keep. Carlos n u n family in our prayers we miss the boys so much we love I guys dearly candy n jose rosado from Jamaica plain xoxoxo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1603965945 Kevin Macomber

    My heart goes out to this family.  We developed a Facebook page ‘Massachusetts Fallen Soldiers’ where we are slowly adding pictures and biographies of these fallen heros.  We have Alexander on the list to complete. 

  • Bettina Sion

    What a pain. I feel deaply heart by the news i have found today while looking for news from you guys That i have met years ago. Words are missing to express my feelings. I send you all my love. Bettina

  • Carmela_mayol

    From the 2nd paragraph above:
    “Now his other son, Brian Arredondo, is also gone. Brian apparently committed suicide on Monday. He was 24.”  Was the suicide on Monday?  I believe the other article says 2011.

    • whackonola

      The date of this article is Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011.

  • Mamamia

    Carlos and Melida my heart goes out to you for the loss of your two sons.  I cannot fathom that you were beaten in the USA for protesting the war.  Yet, at the Boston Marathon you are there to relieve the fear and suffering of others.  I am sure that your sons are proud of you and that you will be with them again.   Please keep speaking out against the war and for disabled and returning veterans.

  • La01141

    something to think about for those opposed to immigration reform

  • http://www.facebook.com/julane.grant Julane Grant

    When Alexander died and Carlos was so injured from the fire, Cindy Sheehan had sent out a request for donations to Carlos.  He sent me a thank you letter with a copy of a letter from Alexander.  I was so extremely impressed with the intelligence of his son.  He wrote as if he had a college degree and the heart of an angel.  I always wanted to tell Carlos what a very special son he had, I am sure he knows that but I wanted so much to tell him that now we all knew it.  It breaks my heart that he has lost Brian, also.  Carlos is a very special man, and I was so pleased to hear him on Here and Now this morning.  I hope he checks this page to read this.  Julane Grant in Portland, Oregon

  • Tommy

    I too have lost a son.  I will not imagine what it is like, to lose two children.
    Carlos and Melinda, you, and your sons, will be in my heart, and in my prayers.

  • Jon Garde

    Our intelligence is terrible.  This has nothing to do with immigration.  Rather, it has to do with this country’s long standing confusion about itself, a nation of immigrants, yet with recurrent historical bouts of xenophobia. 

    Rather than resorting to anti-immigrant hysteria after what just happened in Boston, we need to understand a multiplicity of cultures, particularly those who make us Americans, now and historically, to discern who is who, without our communities.  No one ethnic group can be type cast.  Ethnic communities and their leadership can provide us this intelligence.  The US intelligence community is proving itself too slow in effectuating this understanding.

    The xenophobia of Eurpocentric Americans with immigrants and their anti-immigrant rehetoric is like very dark skin Latinos favoring European features and eschewing their own Indigenous features.  As a national of immigrants, our own self hatred is sad, confusing, disillusioned and even deluded.   

    Again, we need to stop associating immigration with bad intelligence.

     Jon Eric Garde, Esq.

  • Jon Eric Garde, Esq.

    I meant to write “within our communities”.  Furthermore, nothing I said reflects upon the incredible police work conducted by the Boston Police Department. 

    Jon Eric Garde, Esq.

  • Sunsetnative

    carlos you are someone that i can really respect and i am so sorry for your loss brother. may god comfort you.

  • Juls21

    Carlos and Melida, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your 2 wonderful boys. I also, lost my son to suicide and I understand the heartache. Very hard for me to imagine what it would be like to loose 2 children. I also wanted to say how amazing you are Carlos for what gift you gave Jeff Bauman and his family and for the work the 2 of you are doing. I send my prayers and love to you!

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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