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September 12, 2013

Boston bombings rescuer honored at 9/11 ceremony

BOSTON — A man who helped rescue a severely wounded victim of the Boston Marathon bombings was honored yesterday with a civilian bravery award during a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Carlos Arredondo accepted the award named for Madeline Amy Sweeney, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first of two planes hijacked from Logan International Airport and flown into the World Trade Center towers. Sweeney was able to discreetly contact ground crews and provide the first critical information to authorities about the actions of the terrorists.

This year’s ceremony at the Statehouse served as a tribute to victims of both the 9/11 and marathon attacks, the latter still painfully fresh in the minds of Bostonians. Relatives of people who died in the attacks attended the observance.

On April 15, Arredondo was at the finish line of the marathon, handing out American flags in honor of his son Alexander, a serviceman who was killed in the Iraq war in 2004, when the two bombs exploded.

One of the indelible images of the bombings’ aftermath was a photo showing Arredondo rushing in and helping a young man, Jeffrey Bauman, from the scene in a wheelchair. Bauman lost both legs but survived. The attack killed three people and wounded more than 260.

“I smile when I see Jeff Bauman and other survivors. They are getting healthy and they are very beautiful,” said Arredondo, who embraced Bauman as he accepted the award.

Sweeney was just doing her job 12 years ago, Arredondo said, and “I was just doing my duty as a human being,” after the bombings.

“I knew (by) the size of the explosion that it really hurt a lot of people. That’s why I rushed into action and helped out,” he told reporters after the ceremony.

Police Commissioner Ed Davis said he was proud of the way the city came together after the bombings, in much the same way the nation came together after 9/11, and said those who died in both attacks were not just victims, but also patriots.

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