The paper considers the problem of suppressing the free vibration, induced by nonzero initial conditions, in a flexible system governed by the wave equation. First an exact response of the system, with general linear boundary conditions, is derived in terms of propagating waves that are reflected from the boundaries. The solution is explicit and with clear physical interpretation. The general expressions for the response are then used to investigate the behavior of the system under control with the absolute vibration suppression controller, which was originally designed for tracking control. It is shown that the vibration suppression properties of this controller apply also to nonzero initial conditions. In cases where the load end is free or contains only damping, the vibration stops completely in finite time and if it contains only inertia and damping it decays exponentially without vibration.