Acclaimed memoirist Binyavanga Wainaina talks about his writing, Africa today and his new life as an openly gay man.
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.
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.