By John Ruch and Seth Daniel
Carlos Arredondo, the Boston Marathon bombing rescue hero with strong Jamaica Plain ties, appears with other heroes and victims on a sand sculpture at this weekend’s Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival.
The annual festival, which draws about a half-million visitors to Revere to see remarkable sculptures made of beach sand, has a “Boston Strong” theme this year. This year’s centerpiece is a gigantic sculpture showing an American eagle killing a snake, while also depicting various marathon scenes. Those scenes include a nearly life-sized version of the cowboy-hat-wearing Arredondo helping to rescue a bombing victim, an image taken from an iconic Associated Press photo that became world-famous.
Arredondo is a nationally known peace activist who frequently exhibits a mobile anti-war display in JP’s Monument Square as well as around the country. His son Alexander, who grew up in JP, was a Marine killed in action in Iraq in 2004. When Arredondo heard of his son’s death, he lit himself on fire in grief. After recovering, he joined his wife Mélida, Alexander’s stepmother, in peace and veterans’ rights activism. The JP post office recently was dedicated to Alexander.
The Arredondos attended this year’s marathon in support of a fundraiser for a veterans group. They were at the finish line when the bombs went off. Carlos Arredondo went to the aid of several victims, including Jeff Bauman, a man whose legs had been blown off. Arredondo helped to save his life by dragging him into a wheelchair and apparently pinching shut an exposed blood vessel.
The Sand Sculpting Festival runs today through Sunday at Revere Beach. It includes a competition of sand sculptors as well as music, a street fair, children’s entertainment and more. Admission is free, though donations are encouraged. For more information, see reverebeachpartnership.com/national-sand-festival.