Cowboy-Hat-Wearing Hero Of Boston Marathon Bombing Was No Stranger to Tragedy

xlargeYesterday’s tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon has left the country in a heartbroken daze. Over 170 people were injured, 25-30 people reportedly lost at least one leg, and three were killed in the blasts. As the country mourns and tries to find answers, another picture of the day’s events has emerged to offset some of the horror and pain. Footage of the explosion shows smoke and debris shooting up from the bombs, people running for their lives, but then a second surge of people runs toward the scene to help the injured. Many were trained responders – police, firemen, EMT’s – but many were volunteers and untrained spectators, stepping up to plate to aid those in need.

Among the heroes was Carlos Arredondo, a well-known peace activist who began protesting the Iraq War after his first son was killed in duty in 2004. Arredondo and his wife, Melida, were in the VIP section at the race distributing American flags and cheering on the runners. When the bombs went off near them, Arredondo sprang into action to help the injured, tying tourniquets and talking with people through their pain. He’s been named the “cowboy hat hero” and can be seen in countless photographs of the explosions’ aftermath, lending his hands and working tirelessly to ease the suffering. Here Arredondo is interviewed shortly after the blasts, noticeably shaken and even bearing blood on his shirt from tending to the injured:

In the face of such horrific events, it it heartening to witness people coming together in such a display of humanity. The Boston Marathon, though it may seem a quintessentially American and even specifically New England event, is highly international. Before the blasts yesterday, Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa Benti won the men’s race, and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo won the women’s. An American has not won the race since 1985. Runners in the marathon represent over 90 countries in the world – so a tragedy like yesterday’s takes on international proportion. Many people became heroes, putting aside fear, anger, and pain to begin the first baby steps toward healing. Boston, the country, and the world will be grieving and healing for years to come, and we need each other now more than ever.

Photo credit: Associated Press