Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Account of Assault on Carlos Arredondo by CODEPINK woman who witnessed the incident

After the [September 15th] march, I was coming out of the porta-potties and wanted to sit in the shade because I was tuckered out. I saw Carlos walking slowly by, pulling his memorial to his son Alexander, which consists of a flag-draped coffin, Alexander’s boots, and a large photo of Alexander. He was holding a flagpole with a U.S. flag flying upside-down, which I took to be a symbol of distress.

Carlos saw me and waved; I waved back or flashed him a peace sign.

What happened next happened so fast it was surreal. I hadn’t realized that there was a counterprotest by the so-called Gathering of Eagles, a pro-war group that travels to counterprotest wherever anti-war activists gather.

Suddenly one of them rushed forward and snatched the portrait of Carlos’ son off the memorial. He then ran back to the safety of his mob group and tore Alexander’s photo to pieces. Quick as a wink, Carlos took off after that man and tried to get the photo back. Several members of the Gathering of Eagles then assaulted him en masse, beating and kicking him. It was a brutal attack.

A crowd had gathered around; I called Terri from NC who was resting at the lower end of the Capitol lawn and told her there was a fight, but I don’t think she realized where I was calling from and thought I was referring to the die-in arrests taking place further up the hill. She urged me to get away from the fight and join her on the lawn.

Before I left, I saw the Capitol Police arrive, including a female police officer on a bicycle. I looked up, and on the fringes of the crowd, I saw two tall, handsome men who were perched above somehow and were videotaping the whole scene. I hope they’ll come forward to give their videotapes to Carlos or to the police.

Knowing the circumstances of the death of Carlos’ son, I naturally started to cry and I turned and left for the safety of the lawn. I heard a man scream at Carlos, “That’s not your son—that’s an empty casket!” (What an idiot….) I also recall that as the crowd was beating Carlos, a young man with yellow, spiky hair was screaming, “They tore up his son’s photo! They tore up his son’s photo!”

Posted by Anne from North Carolina


Anonymous said...

I admire what you are doing and your courage and big hearts for our troops and their families who are being abused and misused by the cheney cabal.

Ryan from Richmond said...

One of the most touching moments for me in the movement, was listening to Carlos talking about his son and showing the pictures of his son. I am so sorry that there are people out there who would treat Carlos with such disrespec.

We love you Carlos

Anonymous said...

Carlos Arrendondo

Last September 11th, I met Carlos Arredondo, a Gold Star father who lost his son, Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, aged 20, in Iraq in 2004. Carlos shared a letter he received from his son in January of 2003 with a group of us who were visiting the Code Pink House this month. The letter was written from the decks of his battleship as it sailed toward Iraq. The young man wrote, "I'm not afraid of dying -- "I am more afraid of what will happen to all the ones I love if something happens to me". After Saturday’s march on Washington, a gang of "Eagles," a loosely organized band of violent war supporters, waited in the crowds and approached Carlos' truck as he followed the thousands of marchers to the Capitol. One of them ripped the photo of Alexander from the truck and ran into nearby bushes. Carlos chased the man into the bushes and was attacked by two other "Eagles" who beat him brutally. Could it be that Carlos and his memorial truck provoke anger in all who see it, both pro and anti-war, as a symbol of the humiliation of a patriotic American public? Alexander closed his letter by saying, "I feel so lucky to be blessed with the chance to defend my country".

Tamara Righter
Code Pink
September 25, 2007

Tee said...

I think I may have been near you by those porta-potties... I remember the rucus and saw the tearing of the photo.