Years of campaigning by veteran's families has culminated in the commissioning of a new artwork for the grounds of the Australian War Memorial, a tribute to service personnel traumatised by their experience of war.
Every drop shed in anguish is proposed for installation in the Memorial's sculpture garden, a permanent reminder of those who took their own lives after serving for Australia.
Funded by the federal government, the $1.2 million project has been driven by the ex-service community, with mother and partner of the late Jesse Bird, Karen Bird and Connie Boglis, leading a plight to have "forgotten personnel" commemorated.
Mr Bird took his own life in 2017 aged 32 after struggling to reintegrate to civilian life after serving in Afghanistan.
At the War Memorial this week, Ms Boglis described the "grey area" she lived in following his death due to the stigma of suicide.
"In 2018 I asked Brendan Nelson 'where do I grieve? Where do we educate our nation on the battle scars that come home? And where do we gather to acknowledge and start that conversation?'" she said.
Ms Boglis said she hoped through the sculpture the gardens would answer some of those questions for families and prevent them suffering in silence.
"I witnessed my partner struggle with this grief every day for two years. Today we commence the process of unpacking grief and the various forms it takes in the lives of our ADF families and their communities." Mrs Bird was part of the sculpture commission committee which selected the work by artist Alex Seton.
She said war had a long-term and intergenerational cost which came home with veterans and was experienced by their loved ones.
"This sculpture represents those Australians who have been redacted from our military history, the silenced, the forgotten and the unspoken. The men and women who have fallen outside the palatable retelling of our war and military history, who until today have had no place at Australia's dedicated war memorial," Mrs Bird said.
Mr Seton's sculpture includes 21 pearl marble droplets up to one metre in size.
He said their rounded liquid forms suggested blood, sweat or tears - for every drop ever shed in anguish.
"Every droplet has a unique shape, defined by its delicate surface tension, as if about to burst. Most importantly, when touched these forms reveal themselves to have an inner strength and resilience that provides hope and promise of healing."
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said it would be an enduring recognition for those affected by war and serve to remind the public of the impact service had on some personnel and their families.
Mr Chester has recently been put in charge of negotiating the terms of reference into a royal commission into veteran suicides.
The inquiry looks set to cost $174 million over two years.
He said the sculpture proposed for the War Memorial gardens was "sad" and "contemplative" and would encourage the conversation to continue.
"I think it's respectful, I think it's very dignified and exactly what we need," Mr Chester said.
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