For Carlos and Melida Arredondo, the explosions they watched firsthand from the VIP stands at the Boston Marathon reverberated like terrible flashbacks. They lost two sons violently: One was killed at age 20 by sniper fire in Najaf, Iraq, in 2004 and the other took his own life.

“I am still very shaken,” said Carlos, who is Red Cross trained and stayed on to help. “I am covered with blood and still at the scene where the tragedy happened. I jumped the fence after the first explosions and all I saw was a puddle of blood and people with lost limbs. I saw adults, much younger than myself — ladies, men, pretty much everyone was knocked out.”

“It was like an IED [improvised explosive device],” he said. “It broke everybody’s legs. Two ladies at my left side were knocked unconscious. They lost their legs. I was putting pieces of clothing on their legs to stop the bleeding and called for assistance. Someone came and we helped get them in wheelchairs.”