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WASHINGTON (United States) (AFP) – Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and openly gay NBA player Jason Collins have been invited to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, the White House said Monday.

A statement named Collins and Boston survivors Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman among the first round of invitees to watch Tuesday’s address in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box.

Arredondo and Bauman were at the center of one of the defining images from last April’s bomb attack, Arredondo, wearing a white Cowboy hat, helping rush the badly injured Bauman away for treatment.

Arredondo, 53, and Bauman, 27, who lost both legs in the attack, have since become close friends.

Collins meanwhile received an invite after a year which saw him make worldwide headlines when he became the first openly gay man in a major American team sport.

Other invitees announced by the White House included Gary Bird, a fire chief who oversaw search and rescue efforts following the devastating Oklahoma tornado which claimed 25 lives and destroyed 1,000 homes and businesses in the town of Moore last May.

AFP Photo/Jason Kempin

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