Carlos Arredondo, a well-known local peace activist and a hero of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, was a special guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 28.
Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, the bombing victim whose life Arredondo helped save, were guests of First Lady Michelle Obama, according to the White House website (whitehouse.gov). Mélida Arredondo, Carlos’s wife and partner in activism, also traveled to the event and met the First Lady.
“Carlos and I got to speak to First lady and her chief of staff about veteran and military family suicide,” said Mélida on her Twitter account. “We have been treated well.”
In the decade since Carlos’s son Alexander, a Marine, was killed in Iraq, Carlos has become a nationally known peace activist, traveling the country with an anti-war display.
The Roslindale residents have strong Jamaica Plain ties. Alexander was a JP native and the JP post office is now officially dedicated in his memory. Carlos frequently stages anti-war and anti-violence displays in JP’s Monument Square. The couple also was involved in the Occupy Boston and Occupy JP movements.
Carlos became a rescue hero at last April’s marathon, which he and Mélida attended in support of a fund-raiser for veterans. When the bombs went off, Carlos aided several people, including Bauman, who lost both legs in the blast. A photo of the cowboy-hat-clad Arrendondo helping push the gravely injured Bauman in a wheelchair became a historic icon of the terror attack and was published around the world.
Arredondo and Bauman are now good friends and make some public appearances together.
A federally funded Boston Police Department spy center drew controversy last year for failing to have any information about the suspected marathon bombers, while also spying on legal anti-war protests. A Jamaica Plain event featuring Mélida was among those labeled as “criminal” and “extremist” in secret spy files, and Carlos may have been a spying target as well, as the Gazette previously reported.
Other guests invited to join the First Lady in her box during the speech include: Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden; Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett; Jason Collins, the National Basketball Association’s first openly gay player; Gary Bird, fire chief of Moore, Okla., which was devastated by a tornado last year; Kathy Hollowell-Makle, the public school teacher of the year in Washington, D.C.; and young inventor Joey Hudy.