A giant UAE flag was yesterday raised up a 123-metre tall flagpole to mark the 41st National Day celebrations in Sharjah.
The flagpole, the seventh tallest in the world, was inaugurated by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of the emirate, yesterday to celebrate more than four decades of unity.
"The UAE flag is a symbol of the country's dignity and prestige that must always be held high, just like its people," said Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairwoman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
"The UAE has witnessed throughout the 41 years of the Union numerous landmark achievements in its developmental, economic and social spheres, taking its place as a regional and international leader and becoming a global example to be emulated by others."
Sheikha Bodour urged citizens and expatriates to protect the country's achievements and work faithfully to support the country's leadership in pressing ahead with development.
The huge flagpole, the same size as the one in Abu Dhabi, will form the centrepiece of a tourist attraction on one side of Al Jazeera Island.
The area will be extensively landscaped and the island will be encircled by a pedestrian walkway that will include a new theme park and amphitheatre.
The project has been undertaken by Shurooq in collaboration with the Sharjah Department of Public Works and a number of government bodies and departments.
The flag-raising ceremony began with the arrival of Dr Sheikh Sultan, accompanied by 41 children who gave the oath of loyalty.
The crowds also enjoyed an operetta performed by students from the Children and Girls centre in Sharjah, patriotic songs sung by youngsters and live music by the Sharjah Police band.
A photography exhibition highlighting the history and achievements of the UAE was also organised, during which Dr Sheikh Sultan honoured the Emirati who, on the Direct Line programme aired each week on Sharjah Radio, suggested building the flagpole
The inauguration ceremony ended with the release of 41 pairs of white carrier pigeons and balloons decorated with the colours of the UAE flag.
"The police's participation in the opening of Flag Island comes in line with our eagerness to be present at all activities, especially National Day, that instill the values of loyalty towards the nation and its leaders among the younger generations," said Maj Gen Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi, chief of Sharjah Police.
Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, the chief executive of Shurooq, said December 2 was a treasured occasion for Emiratis and expatriates, as it offered the opportunity to express their love, appreciation and admiration for the country and its leaders.
"It is also a great chance to reaffirm our allegiance and gratitude to the nation and its leadership, as well as to consolidate the meanings of loyalty and patriotism in the hearts of the people of this great nation," Mr Al Sarkal said.
He expressed his pride in the completion of Flag Island as a national symbol.