HONOLULU - On March 12, our administration participated in the welcome home ceremony at Schofield Barracks for the members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq.

Words cannot convey the gratitude and pride I feel in my heart for each and every one of our Soldiers and their families.

Before a week ago, the last time I had the privilege of their company was at their deployment ceremony in October 2007, when they had already earned my respect, thanks and appreciation for their steadfast service to our nation.

Since then, they have persevered and endured challenges that admittedly I will never know or fully understand.

However, our administration will do all we can to support our men and women in uniform and honor their sacrifices.

The military has contributed to the security, culture and economy of our state for more than 100 years.

In fact, throughout our nation's history, we have always been able to rely on the character and courage of those who serve in our armed forces.

The price of liberty is paid for by the commitment and courage of those who fight for the freedoms we enjoy today. That is why the sacrifices and hardships endured by our military and their families should never be taken for granted.

Members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team understand better than anyone the tremendous sacrifices needed to bring about peace. But it is through their sacrifices that we, the citizens of a grateful nation, can go about our daily lives.