A grieving father took his personal
protest against the Iraq war to Times Square on Wednesday -- a
pick-up truck carrying an empty flag-draped coffin and a
picture of his son's open casket and funeral.
Carlos Arredondo, 46, said he has traveled the United
States for more than 18 months in what he calls a tour of
"public mourning" to honor his 20-year-old son Alexander who
was killed fighting insurgents in Iraq on August 25, 2004.
Carlos Arrendondo, 46, of Boston adjusts the military uniform of his son during a one-man anti-war protest at Times Square in New York, January 31, 2007. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)
"I feel better by making my mourning public, my statement
public," Arredondo said. "People complain (to the police)
because the message is powerful. I don't want to hurt anybody's
feelings, but I'm sorry -- that's what's going on."
Next to the coffin is a pair of the dead soldier's army
boots and his identification tags, while taped to the outside
of the truck is a letter written by Arredondo's son from Iraq.
Also on display is his uniform and medals.
"I'm not here to preach, but the message is clear. My
family has already paid the ultimate sacrifice. We have already
been in Iraq long enough," said Arredondo, who moved to America
from Costa Rica in 1980 and became a U.S. citizen last month.
Arredondo arrived in Times Square late on Tuesday and spent
a below freezing night sleeping in his truck. Although he has
parked in a no standing zone, Arredondo said New York police
were allowing him to stay until Thursday.
"This war shouldn't be happening, they should have ended
this a long time ago," said Felix Barbosa, 40, a building
manager from Brooklyn who stopped to look at Arredondo's
protest. "This makes me sad, it hurts just looking at it."
More than 3,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq
since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, along with tens of
thousands of Iraqi civilians.
Copyright © 2007 Reuters