Soldier Spr David Wood remembered in Canberra
EMOTIONS ran high for Michael and Mandy Wood when their son David's name was unveiled on the Australian War Memorial's honour roll this morning.
Sapper Wood took his own life after suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following two tours of duty to Afghanistan.
Mr Wood said tears flowed as Sapper Wood's name was unveiled at 8:30am in front of family and dignitaries.
He said the private ceremony was attended by his wife Mandy, their children Nicholas, Patrick, Nathan, Savannah, Khachina, David's grandparents Roger and Robyne, his niece Isabella, Dr Brendan Nelson, Janelle Saffin and Australian War Memorial Chairman Rear Admiral Ken Doolan.
"It feels fantastic to have David's war service honoured by the government and the country and see his death as an active service kill," Mr Wood said.
"I lobbied, Roger lobbied and Janelle Saffin lobbied to get David's service recognised.
"It was a feeling I don't think I've ever had before.
"Since David died you think about him, but today while the unveiling was happening I was visualising him.
"I could see him in happier times and that's something I haven't been able to do that well for the past two years."
During the ceremony, Mr Wood said it felt like David was there with them.
"It is a very powerful place the War Memorial, it feels quite alive even though it's a place commemorating the fallen," he said.
"I could definitely feel some presence of something, but I don't know whether it was just our own minds imagining it."
Following the ceremony, Mr Wood said the family were joined by Nicole and Jack Wood, David's best friend Ian Zilm, his commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Matt Richardson, and sappers Luke Caldwell, Ben Kellaway, David Smith from David's Second Combat Engineer Regiment.
Self harm incidents
Secret internal documents obtained by News Corporation showed David's death was one of the 212 so-called 'self-harm' incidents the Australian Defence Force recorded during the past five years, including 58 last year.
Without lobbying from Janelle Saffin, Mr Wood said today's ceremony may not have happened.
"I'd like to thank Janelle, Dr Brendan Nelson and mostly retired Lieutenant General David Morrison," he said.
Mr Wood encouraged people to donate to two organisations who assist defence force families www.mates4mates.org and www.soldieron.org.au.