Maj. Kendall Langston, 47, a New Zealand Army reservist and veteran of missions to Bosnia and Angola, took the challenge after seeing American friends posting about it on social media.
“A few of my close mates are doing it, and I got nominated,” he said.
The New Zealand Defence Force has deployed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan alongside U.S. forces in recent years.
“There’s a shocking suicide rate in the veteran community,” Langston said. “The ones you see the most about are in the U.S., but there have been incidents in New Zealand as well.”
Kiwi Vietnam and World War II veterans have suffered from PTSD, but the problem was swept under the carpet, Langston said. It is a harsh reality that those who go to war come back differently, they have seen things that many others have not, and getting back into civilian life can be incredibly difficult. That is why support on all fronts is needed, not only by professionals but by family alike, this can come in many forms. Alongside flying navy jack flags, army flags, marine flags, etc. they also need to show their loved ones that compassion and freedom to express what they go through, it is lucky that it is happening now, it is just unfortunate it could not have happened sooner, but progress is always happening, and those who show their support, whether that be through flags or through one on one discussions, it all adds up.
“There’s been more awareness about it in recent years, maybe because there are so many young veterans (of Iraq and Afghanistan) and more media coverage,” he said.
Langston recently finished his 22 days of pushups, and the results have been showing in the mirror.
“The wife asked if I could keep doing it,” he said.