Carlos Arredondo learned his son Lcpl. Alexander Arredondo, USMC was killed in action in An Najaf, Iraq on August 25, 2004. It was Alex' second tour of duty. He had recently turned 20. That day was also Carlos' 44th birthday. When advised of his son's death, Carlos, due to anguish and grief, set afire a USMC van and 26% of his body was burned in the process. These images were broadcast worldwide and resonated for many as the ultimate anguish of a father having lost his son in war.
Carlos has appeared on Spanish and English speaking radio and television throughout the US and internationally. Most recently, he participated in the Bring Them Home Now Tour with Gold Stars Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out where he met with Jesse Jackson, members of the Black Legislative Caucus, Ret. General Wesley Clark and Kofi Annan. Carlos also is the father of Brian Arredondo, Alexander's younger brother.
Mélida Arredondo is Carlos' wife and both Alexander and Brian's step-mom. She has supported her family through the tragedies of Alexander's death as well as Carlos' burn related injuries. She has been active in reaching out to the USMC on the details of Alex' death as well as finding both economic and professional support for her family and herself. She recently has had several articles printed in Boston local papers on the impacts of the war on military families. Mélida spoke at Boston University when the Bring Them Home Now Tour came to Massachusetts and has been involved in community organizing on issues relating to immigrants for almost 20 years.
If you would like to plan a speaking event with the Arredondos please contact them at melida_arredondo [at] yahoo.com or (617) 323-5623.