Martyrs’ Day a source of pride for mothers of UAE’s fallen soldiers
ABU DHABI // President Sheikh Khalifa has declared that from this year, November 30 will be a national holiday to honour and remember Emiratis who have fallen in the line of duty.
Each year the country will pay tribute on Martyrs’ Day to the honour and loyalty of its national heroes in recognition of the sacrifices they made, the state news agency Wam reported.
Emiratis who have died performing their civil, military and humanitarian duty in the UAE and abroad will be honoured.
Families of servicemen who have been killed on duty welcomed news of the holiday.
The mother of First Lt Tariq Al Shehi – an Emirati policeman killed in Bahrain in March last year when an improvised bomb exploded – said the announcement gave her great pride.
Hessa Al Qadi said she stood in solidarity with all other families who lost family members.
“This is a source of pride for all of us,” Ms Al Qadi said. “I feel the pain of all the mothers who have lost their children serving recently. We’re all together under a unified nation and I pray that they find peace and solace.”
Commemorative and national events will be held for all residents to celebrate the nation’s values of dedication, devotion, loyalty and belonging.
Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina, Dubai Police Chief, said the holiday would be a welcome chance to honour the heroes. “November 30 of every year will be an everlasting occasion of remembrance for the UAE to those who gave their souls for their homeland,” Gen Al Muzeina said.
“They’ll always be remembered by their brethren and a distinguished landmark in our nation’s beloved history that was formed on a foundation of unity, togetherness and pride.”
The first Emirati serviceman to die in the line of duty was Salem Suhail bin Khamis, at the end of November in 1971, shortly before the UAE’s formation. Bin Khamis, 20, led a six-member police force on Greater Tunb, one of three islands invaded by Iran on the eve of Federation.
He refused to lower the flag of Ras Al Khaimah, and the invaders killed him for his defiance.
Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, on Wednesday ordered that a monument to those who died in the line of duty be inaugurated on Martyrs’ Day.
He ordered it to be built near the Sharjah Centre for Space and Astronomy, and for a road in Sharjah University City to be renamed Martyrs’ Road.
Dr Rashid bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, on Wednesday said Sheikh Khalifa was the kind of Ruler who understood his people.
“The President’s decision to make November 30 a day of remembrance is an indication of the significant relationship he has with his people,” said Dr bin Fahad.
“It’s a decision rooted in the love of this nation and shows the great place and status of those who have perished serving their country.”
He said the decision would have a great impact on families who mourned their lost ones.
Hamad Al Rahoomi, an FNC member from Dubai, said that the appreciation of those who died in the service of the UAE had to match their great sacrifice.
News of Martyrs’ Day was the most shared topic online and was tweeted more than 1,000 times within minutes of the announcement, Dubai Media Office said.
Salem Al Bloushi, a Sharjah resident, praised the announcement, saying it was a great way to remember the country’s fallen heroes. He said the news brought joy to his heart.
“Martyrs’ Day is a great way to honour those who died serving this country and its leadership,” said Mr Al Bloushi, 46.
He said Emiratis would come from across the country to the Sharjah monument in Sharjah, to pay tribute and pray for the heroes’ souls.
Nora Abdullah, an Ajman resident, said she heard the news on the radio while on her way home.
“We will always remember our brave soldiers, and now we have a national day to celebrate their bravery,” Ms Abdullah said.
*Additional reporting by Thaer Zriqat
Published: August 19, 2015 04:00 AM