Boston, Mass. – March 3, 2014 – Carlos Arredondo and his wife Melida will be the Grand Marshalls for the Saint Patrick Peace Parade, the alternative parade, in South Boston on Sunday, March 16. Carlos is well known as one of the heroes of the Boston Marathon bombing. He was captured in a now famous AP photo wearing his white cowboy hat as he rushed bombing victim Jeff Bauman to a waiting ambulance. Carlos and Melida have been long time members of Veterans For Peace, having joined the organization shortly after Carlos’ son Alex was killed in Najaf Iraq by a sniper in 2004. Their only other son Brian, who never recovered from the loss of his beloved big brother, committed suicide in 2011 at age 24. Carlos and Melida have committed themselves to helping veterans families and working for peace as members of the Boston chapter of Veterans For Peace.
Carlos is honored to be the Grand Marshall of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade with his wife Melida. “Boston Strong means all of us uniting together whether at a tragedy or against bigotry and exclusion, or the need for peace”, stated Carlos. “There is a lot of controversy surrounding these parades,” Carlos said. “We should all come together, combine the two parades into one big parade and allow everyone, straight, gay, peace, old and young to all participate together celebrating Saint Patrick.”
Melida Arrendondo, Carlo’s wife, also a Grand Marshall of the parade added, “After this year where a bombing took place in Boston, inclusion of the LGBT community and Veterans For Peace is an important part of keeping Boston Strong.” “We are a diverse community,” added Melida, “and we should be proud to march together as one. Our diversity is what makes us different and is our strength as a city and a nation.”
Veterans For Peace will once again march one mile behind the traditional parade. There are eight separate divisions in the Peace Parade, each division is essentially their own parade with very distinct messages. The eight division are: Veterans For Peace, Peace, Religious, LGBT, Environmental Stewardship, Political, Labor, Social and Economic Justice. Last year the parade had six bands, floats, vehicles, Bread and Puppet Theatre and 2,500 participants.
“Some have called the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade a protest parade,” said Pat Scanlon, Coordinator of Veterans For Peace and the lead organizer for the Peace Parade. “It is not! It is an alternative parade brought about because of the discriminatory and exclusionary practices of the organizers of the first parade.” Some people refer to the second parade as the gay parade. Scanlon emphasizes, “It is a Peace Parade, in fact the only Peace Parade in the entire country. Our parade is welcoming and inclusive. The LGBT community is free to celebrate who they are as people and as gay members of our community. There is an LGBT Division where all are welcome to carry rainbow flags, signs, and banners and wear T-shirts with such messages as “I’m Irish, Gay and Proud”.
The parade organizers invite individuals and groups to join their parade. “People and groups are welcome to come and join one of the eight divisions,” added Scanlon. The Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade will assemble at 1:00 pm on D Street, just off West Broadway in South Boston. Look for the black and white Veterans For Peace Flags. Erin Go Bragh.