Carlos Arredondo

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Numerous incidents of heroism were noted amidst the horrific happenings in Boston on Patriots Day. I’d come to know one of the heroes, Carlos Arredondo, when working on a book about the consequences of the Iraq war. Carlos had lost his older son Alexander, a Marine, in Iraq.

On Monday, after the explosions, Carlos waded in among the bomb debris to lift up and assist one of the grievously injured. In subsequent news reports, of which there are many, Carlos and his wife Melida were described as anti-war activists, but not many know the extent of their own suffering, suffering that would have turned most of us inward and bitter, but hasn’t stopped them from dedicating their lives to peace.

This photograph was made on December 26, 2011 in a darkened room at a funeral home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Melida and Carlos wished to spend a few quiet moments with their son Brian prior to the arrival of family and friends. The morticians hadn’t quite finished their work. A strip of white plastic had been placed around the young man's throat to cover the redness. Seven years had passed since Alexander was killed in An Najaf, Iraq. On December 19, 2011, the day after the announcement of the official end of the Iraq war, Brian, 24, took his own life.