UAE Flag Day: Leaders raise the symbol of one nation

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ABU DHABI // The country’s people were draped in the national colours – the symbol of their national identity – as a show of unity to mark Flag Day.

From the 5,000 flags distributed among health centres by Dubai Health Authority, to the 5,000 metre silk flag beginning to be stitched by an Afghan expatriate and his two dozen friends in Mussaffah, Flag Day saw the nation swell with pride.

Each emirate was united in its solidarity behind the country’s vision for the future, and the tributes to those who have fallen in conflict in a turbulent year.

It was also a tribute to the global achievements of Sheikh Khalifa, who became President 11 years ago on Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, attended the flag raising with 5,000 schoolchildren at Dubai Creek at noon, as the flag was being raised simultaneously around the country. “I gave directions for our national flag to be raised today at the same time,” he said.

“I wanted to emphasise the important fact that we are all one in the UAE, we confirm our belonging to one nation, work to achieve the one goal which is glory, and consolidate our loyalty to the leader of the march of development, President Sheikh Khalifa, promising Allah Almighty to forever keep our flag always flown high in pride of our country and the unity of its people.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, spoke of the country’s “unity, cohesion and solidarity”.

“We raise the flag today to show our great love and appreciation for the UAE President for his national efforts and his continuous initiatives to keep the nation high and cherished,” Sheikh Mohammed, also Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said on Twitter.

“Our unity, cohesion and solidarity are the source of our strength. They are our constant approach, founded by the late Sheikh Zayed and solidified by Sheikh Khalifa.”

The occasion was an important opportunity to unite the hearts of all Emiratis to reaffirm their allegiance to the nation and its leadership, said Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

“We recall on this day as we celebrate the Flag Day and the accession anniversary of Sheikh Khalifa, the President, the efforts made by the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed – God rest his soul in peace – who laid the foundations of a modern state,” he said.

“Celebrating the event by raising the UAE flag across the emirates at the same time reflects the unity of the large Emirati family, and affection the people of the UAE have for their home country and their leader.”

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was at the ministry offices to mark Flag Day, with Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Sheikh Abdullah described the day as an occasion dear to the hearts of all Emiratis, reflecting national values and promoting the wise vision of the leaders.

“Despite all challenges we are facing, we see how mature the UAE has become and the noble initiative of nationals and expatriates to raise the UAE flag to recall the efforts made by the late Sheikh Zayed and the other founding fathers,” he said.

Sheikh Abdullah said he was proud of Emiratis and expatriates who yesterday showed their love and loyalty.

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, National Security Adviser, paid tribute to the Emirati heroes who have given their lives in Yemen: “As we all aspire to achieve top places where our flag flies high in the spheres of building, progress and excellence, we express our great respect for the sacrifices of our Armed Forces martyrs.”

A flag guide from the Cabinet shows red symbolises the sacrifices of previous generations who laid the foundations for the Union, and of the nation’s martyrs.

Green is for growth, prosperity and culture; white for charitable contributions and support for security and peace in the world; and black for the strength of Emiratis and their rejection of injustice and extremism.

Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, raised the flag at Fujairah’s Labour Office. “The flag shall remain, with God’s will, flapping in our skies to express a wonderful bond between the nation’s leaders and people, with pride and honour.”