Tributes to California's war dead, including the five we lost since last Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, the Los Angeles Times pays tribute to the California service members who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

More than 6,900 members of the American military have died since the conflict began in late 2001. Among them are 761 Californians, including five who died this past year.

Below is a selection of comments posted by readers who knew and loved those who died. These memories speak of friendship and loss in a simple and heartfelt way — and remind us of the sacrifices made in service to this country.

Hundreds more can be read on The Times' database, California's War Dead

The five Californians who died this past year

Matthew V. Thompson
Matthew V. Thompson, 28
Died Aug. 23
Jason C. Finan
Jason C. Finan, 34
Died Oct. 20
John W. Perry
John W. Perry, 30
Died Nov. 12
John P. Rodriguez
John P. Rodriguez, 23
Died Jan. 12
Robert R. Boniface
Robert R. Boniface, 34
Died March 19

Tributes from our readers

Richard A. Soukenka
Richard A. Soukenka, 30
Died Feb. 27, 2007
Daniel J. Santee
Daniel J. Santee, 21
Died April 14, 2007
Randy D. Collins
Randy D. Collins, 36
Died May 24, 2005
Jesse L. Williams
Jesse L. Williams, 25
Died April 8, 2007
Neil C. Roberts
Neil C. Roberts, 32
Died March 4, 2002
Janelle F. King
Janelle F. King, 23
Died Aug. 14, 2008
Vilmar Galarza Hernandez
Vilmar Galarza Hernandez, 21
Died May 26, 2012
Chase Stanley
Chase Stanley, 21
Died July 14, 2010
Dwight J. Morgan
Dwight J. Morgan, 24
Died Jan. 19, 2002
Rudy A. Acosta
Rudy A. Acosta, 19
Died March 19, 2011
San Sim
San Sim, 23
Died Oct. 22, 2008
Steven Acosta
Steven Acosta, 19
Died Oct. 26, 2003