42 for 42
In 2016, 4 Afghanistan combat veterans founded the non-profit organisation 42 for 42 to raise funds to build a memorial garden in Brisbane that would honour their fallen mates and educate the public about why the war occurred.
An important aspect was to represent the unknown soldiers who were losing their battle back home and falling victim to suicide.
Having had struggles returning home themselves, this was and is an issue that is close to their hearts.
Every deployment sent to Afghanistan faced different circumstances and had different outcomes. It’s important that we don’t forget that this was Australia’s longest war and a war on terror, which has shaken the world. The Afghanistan War Memorial Garden will be built as a storyline around each deployment, incorporating our fallen soldiers and our Victoria Cross winners.
After the First World War, Australian soldiers came together and built the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. This was a source of inspiration when establishing a plan for The Afghanistan War Memorial Garden, in Brisbane. It has always been the main project of the 42 for 42, and has been a collaboration of many veterans, their families and proud Australians coming together to do their bit. It will continue to serve as a place to remember and honour all the deployments to Afghanistan and educate the next generations to come.
42 for 42 began with a 42-hour challenge, in which Afghanistan veteran Sean Mulqueen walked the concourse and stairs of Suncorp Stadium for 42 hours straight carrying 42 kilos in a military pack. As each hour passed, a kilo was removed from the pack by members of the 42 – families of the fallen, veterans and supporters of the 42. It represented lightening the load for soldiers.
This led to the annual 42-hour challenge at Suncorp Stadium every November for anyone to participate in.
42 represents the 41 soldiers Australia lost in Afghanistan, with the 42nd being the soldiers we have lost to suicide and those who are still struggling with their wounds and injuries post-war.
The team quickly expanded. 42 for 42 is dedicated to supporting the families of fallen Afghanistan soldiers as well as combat veterans who have returned from active duty in Afghanistan, and their families.
The 42 for 42 members have worked hard to maintain a positive environment, where veterans and families can join, participate and contribute to the organisation as they wish. It supports the Afghanistan veteran community by helping acknowledge, establish, and increase awareness of events, groups, support programs, job help and financial assistance when required.
Please feel free to contact the 42 for 42 through their website or follow them on social media and watch how the memorial will come to life.
By Sean Mulqueen, co-founder and President