President Sheikh Khalifa has led tributes from UAE leaders to soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty on the eve of Commemoration Day.
The day is marked on November 30 each year, and offers a chance to reflect on the achievements and sacrifices of those who dedicated themselves to protecting the Emirates at home and abroad.
Sheikh Khalifa said, before the country's milestone 50th National Day, that their contributions to the progress of the UAE will never be forgotten.
“The sacrifices of our martyrs will remain indelible in the conscience of the homeland and our national memory,” Sheikh Khalifa said in a statement given to Nation Shield, the UAE Armed Forces' magazine.
“Their heroic deeds go down in the annals of history as a source of inspiration to ensure our nation's glory, stability and steady advances toward a brighter future.
“November 30 is a day of appreciation and loyalty, on which our nation — leadership and people — articulates with pride the values of sacrifice and our martyrs' heroic deeds. The UAE flag is a symbol of strength, pride and invincibility. On this day our men and women express their deep thanks and gratitude to those who lost their very souls in protection of the sovereignty of our land.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the day symbolised the unity of the Emirati people and called on parents to share its significance with the next generation.
“Sons and daughters of the UAE, I call upon you all, most notably our youth, to contemplate these blessed days and the sacrifices of our martyrs while they performed our duties, as well as our history, full of lessons and glories,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
“I also call upon mothers and fathers to tell their sons and daughters the meaning of Commemoration Day, and about the men who sacrificed themselves to protect the country and its people, and about the patience of their families and their giving, loyalty and patriotism.”
Sheikh Mohammed spoke of the honour of serving in the armed forces and working to safeguard the security and stability of the nation.
He urged the public to offer their support to the families left behind who lost loved ones in service of their country.
“I call upon all citizens who know a martyr’s family to visit them and support them on this day, for it is a sorrowful day for them, as their feelings of loss are remembered.
“The families of martyrs have shown great courage, patience and awareness, underscoring their faith, and they have become a source of inspiration to everyone, to be dedicated in serving their country.”
Sheikh Mohammed lauded the efforts of the UAE to honour their lives, through the establishment of the Wahat Al Karama memorial as well as the work of the Martyrs' Families Affairs Office.
'A source of inspiration'
His message was echoed by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
“The memory of our fallen heroes will remain a source of inspiration, and their sacrifices remain imprinted on the hearts of our people, a shining model for the love of our nation,” said Sheikh Mohamed.
“The names of our heroic martyrs, both military and civilian, will endure as a symbol of a glorious era in our history. No matter how many years pass, their memory becomes ever brighter, and we are keen to preserve this anniversary and keep it alive in the country’s memory and that of its people. We are determined to record their heroism in our history books and inform future generations of the sacrifices made to uphold the UAE's security and dignity.
“Since the UAE has dedicated a day to commemorate its martyrs and recall their heroism and courage with pride, it will never forget them. Instead, it remembers them all the time because they are present in the hearts of the people. Their memory will never fade, nor will their sacrifices be forgotten.”