Words don’t come easy

Each time a soldier with ties to California dies in the war on terror, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s press office puts out a short statement: The soldier’s name. Age. City of residence. Branch of service. Date of death. And a short statement from the governor and first lady Maria Shriver. Flags will be flown at half-staff.

Sometimes, days go by without such a statement. Other days, several are written. Here, we’ve chosen just a few of the dozens of statements made in the last year. They may be summed up with this excerpt from one of them: “Words cannot adequately describe the personal sacrifices that members of our armed forces make in defending our nation.”

“First Sgt. Barnhill’s profound patriotism and courage serves as a model for all Californians and his loss is deeply felt.”

—from the statement regarding Michael S. Barnhill of Folsom

“We honor his bravery and commitment to his country.”

—from the statement regarding Ricardo A. Crocker of Mission Viejo

“Today, we honor a hero who walked courageously in harm’s way and risked his life for his fellow countrymen.”

—from the statement regarding Randy D. Collins of Long Beach

“Derek deserves our eternal gratitude for his patriotic service and ultimate sacrifice so that we can continue to live in safety in the land of liberty and justice for all.”

—from the statement regarding Derek Argel of Lompoc

“He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and we are forever indebted to him for his service.”

—from the statement regarding Cesar O. Baez of Pomona

“His contributions to preserving the freedom of his fellow Americans and securing the safety of the Iraqi people are the embodiment of selfless service.”

—from the statement regarding Antonio Mendoza of Santa Ana

“Victor’s selfless service and courage is an inspiration to all and we are forever indebted to him for making the ultimate sacrifice.”

—from the statement regarding Victor H. Cervantes of Stockton

“Duane’s commitment to duty and his effort to preserve our freedom is an inspiration.”

—from the statement regarding Duane W. Dively of Rancho California

“Pfc. Muy served his country with unwavering commitment for which our nation will be eternally grateful.”

—from the statement regarding Veashna Muy of Los Angeles

“Maria and I are humbled by the patriotism and heroism of Petty Officer Axelson, who gave his life to preserve our freedoms.”

—from the statement regarding Matthew G. Axelson of Cupertino

“He committed himself to the dangerous task of protecting our freedoms, and his heroism and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

—from the statement regarding Jorge L. Penaromero of Fallbrook