Brian, Alex brother killed himself on December 19, 2011. The loss of Alex was too much. The troops were coming but not Alex because he was KIA in 2004. It doesn't matter how much time has passes the loss was too much for Brian.
Sweet boys in heaven playing together again. May both Alex and Brian RIP. I pray for the people they left behind who love them so much. I don't know how they're hearts will ever recover from this. Please Dear God wrap their hearts with love until they can be with Alex and Brian again....
Brian Arredondo was 17 and living with his mother in Maine in August 2004 when he looked outside and saw two Marines approach the front door. They wouldn’t say why they wanted to speak with his mother, who wasn’t there, but he knew.
“When I came home, Brian came out to the driveway,’’ said his mother, Victoria Foley. “He said, ‘I’m sorry Mom.’ He just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ ’’
Parked around the corner, the Marines returned to say her oldest son, Alex, a Marine lance corporal, had been killed in Iraq. The phone rang with an emotional, agitated call from the boys’ father, Carlos Arredondo, who lived in Florida. Then another call: Turn on the TV.
They watched coverage of Carlos, who took gasoline, a propane tank, and a lighting device into a Marine Corps van outside his house. The van began to burn, and though Carlos said later it was an accident, not a suicide attempt, the flames seared about a quarter of his body.
“Brian said, ‘Oh my God, what happens if my father dies?’ It was a double whammy for him,’’ Foley said. “We were standing outside that afternoon and he said, ‘I just want to die. How can I live?’ ’’
He was 24 when he took his life Dec. 19, in a small building on the property of his mother’s Norwood home, his family said.
Life offered an abundance of sadness and turmoil since the day he learned that his brother was dead and, within minutes, that his father was inside a burning van.
Brian Arredondo had dropped out of high school when his brother first went to Iraq. After a sniper killed Alex, Brian worked occasionally as a custodian and for a florist. Everyone knew he struggled.
“I used to say, ‘Brian, I see through that smile. People don’t understand what’s going on with you with that smile,’ ’’ said his stepmother, Melida Arredondo of Roslindale. “That smile could hide a lot.’’
Father Loses Second Son
Now his other son, Brian Arredondo, is also gone. Brian apparently committed suicide on Monday. He was 24.
When the Marines came to Arredondo’s home in 2004 to deliver the news about Alexander, he became so distraught that he poured gasoline in the Marine vehicle and set it and himself on fire. The Marines who had come to his home saved him. Carlos called them his “angels in camouflage.”
In the years since, Carlos and his wife Melida became very visible advocates for military families in the Boston area. Carlos, so familiar for his pickup truck with a flag-draped coffin in the bed, representing his son’s.
The last time I saw them was Memorial Day weekend. They had come to the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne to help another Massachusetts family mourn its own loss. Paul Monti of Raynham, Massachusetts had gathered thousands of volunteers to put flags on all the veterans’ graves there, including his son’s. Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Carlos and Melida came to help and brought Alexander’s boots and a photo of him, and propped them up against a tree in the cemetery.
Carlos Arredondo was on Here and Now in 2007. He was a native of Costa Rica and he had finally become an American citizen, with the help of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
When he did that, he had his named legally changed. “I changed my name after my first born Alexander and my second born Brian,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “So my name now is Alexander Brian Arredondo. And for me to honor my boys with their own names is wonderful.”
A candlelight vigil will be held for Brian at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. Tuesday night.
Brian Luis Arredondo
Donations may be sent to the Brian Arredondo Memorial Fund, c/o The Cooperative Bank, 40 Belgrade Ave., Roslindale, MA 02131.