Soldier's post trauma remembered with Canberra memorial
TEN members of the Wood family have made the trip to Canberra ahead of Remembrance Day to honour their own fallen hero, Sapper David Wood.
Spr Wood, 22, was the 42nd casualty of the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. But he did not die in the kind of conflict most associated with battle.
He took his own life in bushland near Casino,after suffering horrific mental turmoil - clinically described as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - as a result of his involvement in the Afghan war.
Until now the disorder was brushed under the carpet as just another personal problem, despite the fact that countless soldiers from numerous conflicts have returned home with the same issue.
However the family with help from their then local Federal Member Janelle Saffin have succeeded in raising the issue of the disorder to new levels.
As of tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov 10) Spr Wood's name has been added to the list of official casualties from the Afghan conflict.
"This is the first time in the world we believe, that a soldier who died as a result of PTSD will be recognised as an official casualty of conflict," said Roger Wood, David's grandfather.
As a result of the family's involvement in Spr Wood's recognition they were all flown to Canberra, grandparents included, for the official ceremony.
One of the pivotal moments in Spr Wood's war experience was not as the man responsible for clearing land mines from in front of advancing convoys, but as first responder medic when a young Afghan girl, the same age as his younger sister, was crushed by falling debris during a riot outside his barracks. That riot was created after American soldiers burned Korans out of disrespect, fanning flames of hatred right across the Muslim world.
In that one moment, in which a keen young soldier rushed to the aid of an injured civilian girl, a man's outlook on life changed for the worse.
"That girl basically died in his arms," recalled Roger.
"He went to Afghanistan a healthy, happy, mentally sane person and when he returned he wasn't David, he was basically a destroyed person,"