One of the most iconic photos to emerge from Monday's tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon is that of a man in a cowboy hat, rushing a victim who has had his legs blown off to safety.
The man in the cowboy hat is Carlos Arredondo. He is an anti-war activist who was at the race to honor his dead sons -- one of which was killed serving in Iraq. Arredondo was in Boston to hand out American flags in honor of fallen soldiers. By the end of the day, his last flag would be soaked in blood, used as a tourniquet to save one of the bomb victim's lives.
Arredondo's journey began in his Hollywood home in 2004 when he learned that his son had been killed in action on his second tour of duty.
In August of 2004, Arredondo's son Alex was killed in Iraq serving in the Marines in Operation Iraqi Freedom. When the family was visited by the Marines Corps Casualty Assistance Team who notified them of Alex's death, Carlos Arredondo, unable to bear the unthinkable, filled with rage, sadness, and turmoil, lost control.
According to the New York Times, Arredondo ran into the garage screaming, "No, no! It can't be my son!"
He grabbed a gallon of gasoline, a propane torch and a sledgehammer.
Arredondo ran outside and proceeded to smash the Marine's truck and windshield. When they tried to intervene, he doused the vehicle and himself with the gasoline, and lit the torch. There was an explosion.
The Marines were able to pull him to safety, but not before Arredondo had suffered second- and third-degree burns over 20 percent of his body.
His recovery took a year. When he was back on his feet, Arredondo dedicated his life as an anti-war activist, driving around the country in Alex's pick up truck, sharing his burden, educating others, not allowing people to forget his son and his sacrifice.
Then, four years later, the unspeakable happened a second time. Arredondo's surviving son committed suicide at age 24.