UAE leaders paid tribute to the nation’s heroes on Saturday during a ceremony held at the Wahat Al Karama memorial in Abu Dhabi.
In a statement marking this year’s Commemoration Day, President Sheikh Khalifa highlighted the sacrifices men and women had made in defence of the Emirates.
Other leaders, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also paid their respects.
Commemoration Day is held every year to recognise the dedication and bravery of those serving in both military and civilian roles at home and abroad.
“The biography of the martyrs of the homeland, whose processions have progressed throughout history, will remain immortal in our conscience, and the medals of honour and pride we take,” President Khalifa said.
“On this blessed day, we pay tribute to our valiant sons, soldiers, officers and commanders of our armed forces, who are vigilant in protecting and defending the homeland, and saluting our children across all workplaces inside and outside the country.”
Wahat Al Karama, which translates as Oasis of Dignity, commemorates the sacrifices of all UAE martyrs.
Each year on Commemoration Day, schools and offices across the country observe a minute’s silence to honour those who have lost their lives in the defence of the nation.
At the service at Wahat Al Karama on Saturday evening, Sheikh Mohammed paid his thanks to those serving in the Armed Forces, acknowledging the great work they continued to do every day.
“It’s your wisdom, fortitude and magnanimity that enabled our valiant armed forces to continue to be the protective shield of our homeland,” he said.
"Our martyrs are the sons and grandsons of our nation's icon and the founder of our renaissance, late Sheikh Zayed.
“They are the trustees of his vision, which states that the UAE army is our protective shield that preserves our national unity and accomplishments, and helps our brotherly Arab countries in case of need.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohamed, who was also at the ceremony, said it was the responsibility of every Emirati to continue to cherish and protect the values that the UAE held dear.
“The essential message delivered by the Commemoration Day is for every Emirati to keep sacrificing for his/her homeland by continuing to be loyal to our deeply-rooted principles and values,” he said.
"While bearing witness to every achievement being now made in the UAE, we recall the noble sacrifices made by our martyrs who are all true partners in every accomplishment and step forward we are taking on the right path toward making our dreams come true.”
Also present at Wahat Al Karama on Saturday evening were Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman , Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah and Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain.