Wed 30-11-2022 09:20 AM
ABU DHABI, 30th November, 2022 (WAM) -- As the National Day long weekend approaches with perfect weather expected, the UAE is getting ready to enjoy one of its favourite holidays in the calendar. However, it takes place for historically profound and symbolic reasons, a local English-language newspaper said.
December 2 is National Day, which celebrates the date the UAE was unified in 1971. It began a remarkable story of rapid development, which made a tangible contribution to all who live and work in the Emirates and beyond, The National said in an editorial on Wednesday.
This journey should be celebrated. It has provided citizens and residents with a stable, prosperous home, coupled with a safe, entrepreneurial environment. It also should not be taken for granted, the editorial said.
Prior to National Day, a more sombre public holiday takes place every year: Commemoration Day, which officially falls on November 30, although it has been marked with a public holiday on December 1 in recent years.
It is no coincidence that the two are so close together. Commemoration Day falls on November 30 because it was on that day in 1971 that Salem Suhail bin Khamis died fighting on the island of Greater Tunb. He is believed to be the first Emirati killed in military service. The timing of his death could hardly be more symbolic of the sacrifice and bravery some are called on to demonstrate for a country to flourish and be safe, the newspaper said.
Many have served since, and this year the country lost one of the most long-standing leaders in its history, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Many will be remembering him and his work for the country this year, the editorial added.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said November 30 is a moment to affirm the strength and cohesion of society in the Emirates. It is important to note that this applies to all who live in the country. National Day might be based in Emirati culture, but across the country people from all the UAE's many communities have the chance to share in the celebrations, and feel gratitude for the prosperity the country enjoys, the editorial reported.
And on Commemoration Day – indeed at any time – the vast complex of Wahat Al Karama, or Oasis of Dignity, which tells the stories of the UAE's heroes, should be visited. Its features include the central Pavilion of Honour that commemorates those who have given their lives for the country. Names are engraved on metal recycled from military vehicles. Surrounding the structure is symbolism to deepen the sense of commemoration, including verses from the Quran and poetry from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father, it added.
Many more people are set to be a part of the UAE's National Days going forward, as the country consolidates its position in the region and the world. Tragically, that success and security will sometimes require great sacrifice. The Emirates can be proud of the people willing to risk it, and mourns those who are no longer here because of this duty, concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily.