Photo courtesy of Dave Smith

Editor’s Note: Excerpts of this article originally appeared at David Smith’s personal blog post, “Staring Down the Barrel of a Shotgun.”

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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Photo by Cpl. Sarah Cherry

A lot of people cannot comprehend why someone would take his or her own life. In the case of service members, the stress of war, being away from family and friends, traumatic brain injury from combat, and transitioning out of the military, among other things, can be overwhelming to young veterans returning from the combat zone. Indeed, according to data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year, male veterans under the age of 30 saw a 44% increase in suicide rates from 2009 to 2011.

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