Shock and awe, meet Gov. Rell’s press office.
Today, Gov. Jodi Rell plans to attend the funeral service of Lance Cpl. Lawrence Philippon, who was killed this week in combat near Al Qa’im, in Iraq. The governor makes a habit of attending these military funerals. Her press office also makes a habit of sending out press releases every time a Connecticut soldier dies. Each one contains a ‘quote’ from the governor, but the flaks might want to change their template once in a while. See if you can spot the familiar form in the following quotes, and then ask yourself whether the men and women who shed their blood for U.S. foreign policy deserve more than a stock paragraph:On John Schmidt, 21, of Brookfield: “Once again we have received tragic news of the death of a Connecticut soldier, Lance Cpl. Schmidt. Lance Cpl. Schmidt fought for his life after being wounded in combat in Iraq. Brave men and women from our state continue to make sacrifices for our nation in the cause of freedom. I ask everyone in Connecticut to keep our servicemen and servicewomen in their thoughts and prayers. I also ask everyone in the state to join with me in letting Cpl. Schmidt’s family know that we share their grief.“On Barbara Heald, 60, of Stamford: “Once again we mourn someone from Connecticut who has paid the ultimate price to help bring freedom and democracy to the world. We honor her memory and rededicate ourselves to the ideals she served. I know the people of this state join me in sending deepest condolences to her friends and family in their time of grief.” On Robert William Hoyt, 21, of Ashford: “Specialist Hoyt was a valiant soldier who fought to protect and defend every one of us,” Governor Rell said. “We are all indebted to him for his service. His bravery, courage, and commitment will not be forgotten. We send our sincerest condolences to the Hoyt family, and our thoughts and prayers are with all Connecticut families who have loved ones away at war.” On Lawrence R. Philippon, 22, of West Hartford: “Lance Cpl. Philippon gave his life to defend our freedom and to spread the cause of democracy. We are all indebted to him for his service, and reminded of the sacrifices made by a great many men and women serving in our armed forces. I know the people of Connecticut join with me in sending our sincerest condolences to his family. I also ask that we keep the hundreds of Connecticut men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan – and their families – in our thoughts and prayers.“On Thomas Vitagliano, 33, of West Haven: “Staff Sergeant Vitagliano served America with valor and courage,” Governor Rell said. “On behalf of the people of Connecticut I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Staff Sergeant Vitagliano made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and preserve our freedom. To honor him, I have ordered State of Connecticut flags to be lowered to half-staff. I also ask that state residents continue to keep in their thoughts and prayers the men and women who are serving our country so bravely overseas.” On Joseph Michael Nolan, 27, or Waterbury: “I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sergeant Nolan. As we prepare to mark this most American of holidays, I ask everyone to pause and offer a special word of Thanksgiving for the men and women who risk their lives to guarantee our freedoms. Keep them in your prayers.“On Henry E. Irizarry, 38, of Waterbury: “It is so sad to her of the death of another soldier from Connecticut,” Governor Rell said. “We are seeing once again that war is taking a heavy toll on our nation’s service men and women, as well as their families and friends. I ask everyone in our state to help Staff Sergeant Irizarry’s family through this tragedy by keeping them in their thoughts and prayers. I also ask everyone to honor his service by keeping in their prayers all of the men and women now risking their lives overseas to serve our nation.”