Boston Marathon bombing survivors Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman were invited by the Obamas to attend the State of the Union on Tuesday.
The most iconic photo from the April terrorist attack captured Arredondo, a Costa Rican, with a severely injured Bauman. In the photo, Arredondo wears a large, white cowboy hat, and leads a bloodied Bauman to medical aid. Bauman lost both his legs in the attack.
Arredondo, 53, and Bauman, 27, are now close friends, and last November the two of them visited Costa Rica. They’ve also made on-field and on-ice appearances at Boston Red Sox and Bruins playoff games.
Other guests announced by the White House include former basketball player Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in U.S. major sports, and Gary Bird, a fire chief who led recovery efforts in Moore, Okla. after a tornado killed 25 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses last May.
The White House press release on Arredondo and Bauman states:
Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman are forever linked due to the attacks on the 117th Boston Marathon. In what has become an iconic image from the day in April of 2013, Carlos – wearing his white Cowboy hat – was captured rushing a badly injured Jeff away from the bombing to safety, thereby becoming two of the faces of ‘Boston Strong.’ From his intensive care hospital bed, Jeff played a vital role in identifying the bombers. After losing both legs in the attack, he is battling back, describing himself as a quick healer and stronger now than he was before the attack. Jeff, 27, and Carlos, 53 and a Gold Star Father, have become close friends.