Following a U.S. House vote last year, the Jamaica Plain Post Office is to be named after Lcpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, a native of the community who died in active duty in August 2004 in Najaf, Iraq.
The official ceremony is expected later this year, pending passage of the legislation in the Senate.
“This is a small way to honor the memory of Lcpl. Arredondo, who sacrificed his life for all of us,” said Massachusetts Congressman Mike Capuano in a statement, “He was a dedicated and selfless individual, and my thoughts are with his family, who endured such a tremendous loss.”
A recipient of the Navy Cross with combat “V” and the Purple Heart, Arredondo was the fire team leader who had guided his team through enemy fire and grenade explosions. He had led his squad through a two-story building, overcoming massive opposition to gain control and secure the area before being fatally wounded by an enemy sniper as he checked on the safety of his team.
Sen. John Kerry echoed Capuano’s sentiments. “This dedication will forever honor the courage and sacrifice of Lcpl. Arredondo,” said Kerry in a statement. “We hope this memorial serves as a reminder to Arredondo’s family and loved ones that his service will never be forgotten.”
The bill also has the full support of Kerry’s colleague in the Senate, Republican Scott Brown. “No action on our part can approach the bravery and commitment of Lance Corporal Arredondo,” said Brown. “Renaming this post office in his honor will serve as a small tribute to his sacrifice, and I am pleased the Senate has moved forward with this measure.”
Arredondo’s death made national news that summer day when his marine brethren arrived at the family home to inform them of their loss. Carlos Arredondo, Alex’s father, became extremely upset, locking himself in the marines’ van and setting himself ablaze. He suffered second and third-degree burns throughout his body. He and his wife, Melida, have since formed People United for Peace, an anti-war group that allows Carlos to tour the country on speaking engagements, concentrating on reaching the Spanish-speaking community.
Speaking on the House floor, Capuano, who introduced the bill, quoted Alexander Arredondo’s commander.
“Lcpl. Arredondo fought alongside his fellow marines and displayed the highest levels of courage and selflessness during the three weeks of fighting in Najaf,” Capuano said. “He gave his life fighting for freedom and defending his fellow marines.”