A father shows his grief
Carlos Arredondo standing outside of Whithouse with Alex's photo.
October 6, 2006 By Mary Ann Bragg Staff Writer- Cape Cod Times
Carlos Arredondo lost his 20-year-old son Alexander in 2004 in the Iraq war.
Arredondo, of Roslindale, displays his grief over his son's death on his pickup truck, which he likes to park on busy street corners. A closed casket sits in the bed of the truck, and inside are childhood mementos of Alexander's, including a baseball, a soccer ball, a stuffed teddy bear dressed in camouflage. On the back is a copy of a town-square sign that has been posted in Alexander's honor in Jamaica Plain. Alexander's camouflage shirt hangs from the back. An enlarged photo of Alexander lying in a casket is pressed against one window.
Carlos Arredondo was on Cape Cod in early September and will speak at the ''Arlington East, The Human Cost of War'' weekend of activities planned next Friday and Saturday in Eastham.
''Arlington East'' is sponsored by Cape Codders for Peace and Justice and the local chapter of Veterans For Peace, according to chapter member John Bangert of Harwich.
A memorial service for people killed in the Iraq war is planned for 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Nauset Regional High School, and 2,700 pine crosses will be displayed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday at Coast Guard Beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore. An interfaith prayer service will be at noon at the beach.
As of this yesterday 2,727 American servicemen have been killed in the Iraq war, according to the Department of Defense.
''Arlington East'' is being held for the first time but mirrors a similar display that occurs regularly at a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., Bangert said. That display, which began in 2004, also is sponsored by Veterans For Peace, according to the group's Internet site.
Carlos Arredondo gained national attention as the man who in 2004, in the driveway of his home in Hollywood, Fla., became so upset on hearing the news of his son's death that he set himself and a Marine Corps van on fire.
The three Marines who had come with the news rescued Arredondo from the van, according to news reports at the time. Two years later, his burns are healed. He has returned to Massachusetts and turned to activism full time. ''The money we spend in war right now, it should be (used) back home for spending in the community,'' he said during a visit to the Cape over Labor Day. ''I want peace; I'm not a Republican. I'm not a Democrat. ... My message is that I want unity.''
The veterans group has obtained a permit from the Seashore for the beach event on Saturday, according to Seashore Chief Ranger Stephen Prokop. ''The National Park Service honors First Amendment requests, and this event will honor those soldiers that have been lost in the Iraq war,'' he said.
Mary Ann Bragg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debbie McCulloch, left, and Gail Bangert work in a Truro barn making thousands of crosses to be displayed next weekend at Coast Guard Beach,Eastham. The display is planned as a one-day memorial to U.S. servicemen who have died in Iraq. A service will be held on the beach at noon, Oct. 14. (Staff photo by Steve Heaslip)
There will be work party all weekend at John Hopkin's barn in Truro 314 Route 6, Truro, MA (next to Whitman House)jjb:) Come on over!