Celebration of a proud and unified nation

It is the UAE’s time to rejoice in what we have already achieved and what is yet to come

National Day celebrations along the corniche in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National
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A communal sense of pride is palpable as Emiratis and expatriates gather to celebrate National Day – the day that marks the union of the seven emirates of the UAE. On this day it is important that we remember our humble beginnings and the roots of our traditions as we look with increasing confidence to the future.

Today, we remember our Founding Fathers, the late Sheikh Zayed, along with Dubai’s late Sheikh Rashid and the leaders of the other emirates, who recognised that, with the British preparing to leave the region, our futures would be stronger as one. The rulers’ vision that led to the raising of the UAE flag for the first time on December 2, 1971, enshrined the spirit of unity that lives on today.

The UAE celebrates National Day by acknowledging the many achievements of the past, which are reflected in the phenomenal growth we have seen over a short period. We are proud that we have been able to maintain peace and stability in a troubled and volatile region. Our unity has been the engine of our impressive economic and physical growt, which has enabled our country to become a major player in regional and international affairs. Specifically, we are helping to shape the future of the Middle East in a peaceful, tolerant and sustainable manner.

Sheikh Zayed established a country that respects diversity and celebrates unity. As our first President, he pushed for Arab unity and was a great advocate of peaceful dialogue. He supported international cooperation and rejected ideas that could lead to division. We honour him by embracing his example and fulfilling our duties to the nation.

The UAE continues to spread the principles of tolerance and understanding, and to counter destructive extremist ideologies. We continue to welcome people from more than 200 nationalities and invite them to participate in the construction of this great country at the crossroads of the world.

Our economy continues to be ranked among the most competitive. Our diversification plans are succeeding in shifting from a focus on hydrocarbons to other sectors, including the knowledge economy, tourism, clean energy, air and maritime transport, and trade. This is fuelled by our innovative spirit and our open outlook to the future. National Day is a day for fireworks, silly string, parades, high spirits and comraderie; to be thankful for what we have inherited and optimistic about the even brighter future that we will build.