Honouring the continuing sacrifices made by the Armed Forces and the crucial role the military plays in defending the sovereignty and stability of the UAE and the wider region have been highlighted in the Leaders' messages for Commemoration Day.
The President, Sheikh Khalifa, said the occasion, to be observed on Thursday, was: "A day to treasure the values of sacrifice, dedication and loyalty to the homeland. The nation, both leadership and people, will never forget our servicemen who offered their dear lives and blood on the battlegrounds of justice, right, duty and pride in defence of the Union, safeguarding its sovereignty and preserving its achievements."
Sheikh Khalifa also pledged that the ultimate sacrifice paid by both the military and civilians would be held: “As role models for love and defence of the nation. Their families and children will receive the highest care and assistance from the state.
“We call upon the citizens of the UAE to keep the noble values of sacrifice as a living, enduring role model in their life, to respect and value duty, to be determined in upgrading their capabilities and skills, and to excel in performing their work, as great nations are built by science, creativity, achievement, leadership, determination, sincere dedication, and ultimate sacrifices,” Sheikh Khalifa said.
“There is no life without dignity and there is no dignity without sacrifices.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the country would: “Remain forever indebted to those who have responded to the call to pay the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the homeland, their sanctities and national gains.”
Commemoration Day, Sheikh Mohammed said, was a reminder of "the establishment of our Union to echo the values of patriotism and belonging that our dignified martyrs embodied, in defending the dignity and preserve the glory of their homeland".
It was, he said: “A day that inculcates the values of righteousness and justice, and the principles of opposition to oppression that our martyrs steadfastly upheld.”
Those principles still held as true today, Sheikh Mohammed said, with the country’s armed forces “ensuring stability, security and assurance for our citizens and residents, underpinning our confidence in our present and future, and instilling hope in the hearts of every Arab citizen and in every human being that aspires for justice, security and peace.
"Among the lessons we’ve drawn from the Commemoration Day is the fact that peace, stability and prosperity should not be taken for granted, as they are, rather, hard-earned blessings that need colossal efforts, profound awareness and diligent work to keep, defend and preserve,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said the security of the country was bound closely to the willingness of its people to defend it.
“The nations that make sacrifices to preserve their dignity and to honour their humanitarian and moral responsibilities are the powerful countries capable of safeguarding their gains, defending their sovereignty and advancing with confidence and strength along the path of progress and development,” he said.
Those values extended beyond the borders of the UAE in defending the rights of other peoples, Sheikh Mohamed said.
“I salute my sons who stand in their positions in brotherly Yemen in defence of the Yemeni people's right to stability and development, away from sectarian and religious conflict,” Sheikh Mohamed said.
“I say to them: All of UAE is with you, proud of you and your heroism. You are carrying out a national and moral mission, through which you are safeguarding the interests of the nation and defending Arab national security against the tyrannical forces that do not want our region or peoples to have development or peace.
"Every day, we are reassured that the historical position taken by the United Arab Emirates to engage in the Arab Alliance to restore legitimacy in Yemen under the leadership of the sister Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is correct.
“This courageous move helped thwart schemes aimed at controlling the region under sectarian agendas bent on creating tension and conflict in the Arab world, targeting its national security and threatening the interests of the world as well as security along the most important international waterways."
Those who gave their lives for the country embodied: “The values of giving and self-sacrifice that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose centennial we celebrated this year, strongly believed in.
“He worked hard to promote these values to help shape the Emirati people, whom he considered the nation's true asset and the main driver for its development and prosperity,” Sheikh Mohamed said.
Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, said that those who fell in the service of the country were: “Our heroes and will remain a shining example for future generations, encouraging them to work hard, to preserve the nation, and uphold its values.
“We will continue to protect our nation, to stand by our neighbours, to combat terrorism and fight against injustice, and to ensure a safe, secure and stable livelihood for all.
"Our role in the Arab Coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen is proof of the keenness of the UAE people to follow in the footsteps of their wise leadership, so as to help our brothers in Yemen to build their unified future of prosperity and growth,” he said.
Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, said the sacrifices made by the armed forces “represents the real meaning of the principles upheld by Gulf nations, signifies freedom and dignity, and demonstrates the deep understanding and love of people of the UAE for their homeland, and for preserving its safety and stability".
Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Ruler of Umm Al Qaiwain, said the fallen had "acquired their noble principles from their deep-rooted faith and devotion to the homeland, and from the national and moral education that they have inherited through the generations.
“Today, they have become role models of bravery, courage and determination that we want to celebrate,” he said.