#UAE_Commemoration_Day: Report by WAM, Emirates News Agency

ABU DHABI, 28th November 2016 (WAM) — On the 30th of November, the UAE observes the second Commemoration Day under the directions of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in memory of those who died performing their national duties at home and abroad in civil, military and humanitarian fields.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa awarded them a “Martyr’s Medal” to commemorate their loyalty and dedication and acknowledge their sacrifices. His Highness also ordered that this national occasion be an official holiday nation-wide.

The UAE enjoys stability and prosperity, thanks not only to the efforts of its leadership to make the country a haven of safety and security, but also to the sacrifices made by its men, since the first martyr died for his country on the 30th November, 1971. These sacrifices were made by men who realised the weight of their responsibility towards their country and countrymen.

Over the years, the UAE has participated in a great number of humanitarian and military missions in which it has offered its loyal men as martyrs, demonstrating that it never fails to maintain its principles and the Arab values upon which it was founded, including the values of supporting its countrymen and all humanity. The UAE has proven that it always aims to achieve security and stability while providing help and humanitarian relief to people in areas of conflict, without concern for colour, religion or race.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa has emphasised that, “A nation grows by its own men’s courage and is commemorated in history by their sacrifices, which help build the strength and glory of present and future generations, filling them with pride as they become revered names in the world and are remembered throughout history for their heroic acts on the battlefields.”

His Highness also noted, “Martyr’s Day should be a day full of giving and making efforts to preserve our country and its land. It should motivate all to serve our country and learn how to uphold its glory. We should learn from today’s celebration how to face situations and deal with crises. Fighting for our country makes us men with great faith in God, in our religion, and in our country; men who stand beside our leadership in words, as well as in actions, to further grow our love of our country.”

“Throughout the history of our nation, our martyrs have dedicated their lives to preserve the country’s status and dignity, and to defend what is right and legitimate. They have offered all that they have to the service of their country and its leaders with invincible determination and will, following in the footsteps of their ancestors, who grew in them the love of their homeland, so that they would continue to carry the responsibility of a country with a bright past, a prosperous present and a promising future.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has said that Commemoration Day is the beginning of a new era in the UAE, an era of sacrifice for the country, an era of giving all that people have for its future, of a strong relationship between citizens and leaders, an era of uniting to preserve the country’s security and stability.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed also said, “We vow this day to be loyal to our martyrs and to be like fathers to their sons. We vow that as we continue on our path, we shall always be grateful for their sacrifice and we shall preserve their memory forever.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said, “Our national holidays have increased with our expanding achievements, and each holiday has a patriotic significance. However, this day that we are celebrating today represents the highest form of patriotism, loyalty and belonging. It is a day of pride and of glory for the UAE. This is the day we commemorate our brave martyrs and their courage, dedication and sacrifice; heroes who have given their lives for what’s right and made the UAE a true symbol of strength and honour. Today, this bravery and sacrifice becomes part of our history, as we express our gratitude for what they gave for their country and for the values of humanity.”

The leaders and people of the UAE have been keen to support the families of martyrs and share their sorrows and their concerns, becoming a role model for national cohesion between the sons of one land. H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, the Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, asserted this when she said, “I was pleased with the strong cohesion I saw between the leadership and the people of the nation. As soon as we received news of the first martyrs from our armed forces, the people and the leaders immediately became involved in consoling the martyrs’ families, trying their best to raise their spirits, and the martyrs’ families were strong enough to continue the march of sacrifice for their country.”

Through their patience, loyalty and patriotism, the families, and especially the mothers, of the martyrs spread strength, determination and fortitude amongst Emiratis to continue to preserve the security and stability of the homeland.

Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, FNC, noted, “The mothers of UAE martyrs are all role models in whom we have pride. Their names will remain engraved in the history of the UAE, as they have proven the depth of the national awareness of Emirati women and their ability to represent patriotism and giving, as their strength was the finest example of patriotism and loyalty to the leadership.”

The variety of events and activities organised by many governmental and private authorities and organisations is the best proof of cohesion and unity between the people and the gratitude they feel for the sacrifices of their countrymen.

The Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court is supervising the installation of the martyrs’ monument, consisting of a series of large metal panels that rest next to each other, symbolising the harmony, strength and support between the soldiers, families and citizens in times of tribulations.

The monument is located within the “Martyrs’ Garden”, stretching over an area of 42,000 square meters, and will become a special location that calls for reflection and represents strength, pride and unity. In the park, the names of all the heroic martyrs will live on in honour of their sacrifice. The park is located between the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the General Command of the Armed Forces, and will include a number of features that make it an interesting and impressive place to visit.

The park will also provide a shaded area for visitors and martyrs’ families to rest and enjoy the gardens, which reflect the UAE’s native environment. A large field, which is awash with a thin layer of water at most times of the year, will become a mirror, an ‘Oasis of Dignity’, that reflects images of the monument and the image of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The arena in the park will be drained of water once a year to mark Commemoration Day.

The Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court has organised a series of awareness lectures under the title, “Al Bayt Mitwahid” (The House is United), that address the subject of martyrdom as a supreme social value and a noble merit based upon love for one’s country, defending it, and offering sacrifices, no matter how valuable, to uphold its status and protect its honor.

The Office also asserted that future generations must be made aware of the martyrs’ lives and their sacrifices, and to make a proud example of their choice to sacrifice everything valuable to themselves so they might defend their country.

The Office has also announced the launch of the campaign: #The_UAE_Remembers, as part of the preparations for celebrating Commemoration Day.

The campaign aims to engage all of society through expressing their feelings for, and pride in, what their countrymen sacrificed to defend their country and preserve its prominence and achievements in all fields, and uphold its reputation through their example of national duty.

#The_UAE_Remembers will focus on showing the deepest meanings of loyalty, patriotic sacrifice and pride in our leaders’ wise efforts in adopting the path of development and progress for the good of the nation and its people’s future. Its purpose is also to express the meanings of pride and why it is important to honour sacrifices that the UAE’s martyrs have made in answering the call of national duty.

On this occasion, Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, emphasised that Commemoration Day is one of the great national occasions in which all people express feelings of pride and honour about what the UAE martyrs have offered in all fields. He also pointed out that, as part of celebrating this occasion, #The_UAE_Remembers campaign answers the call of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to pay proper appreciation and give prominence to the martyrs’ sacrifices. It is a representation of the attention and care that His Highness Sheikh Mohamad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, offered martyrs’ families by engaging all members of society in expressing their feelings of honour and pride in the nation’s martyrs, and the sacrifices they have made.

He added that the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, with the coordination and collaboration of all public and private bodies and institutions, will work on achieving the primary goals of the campaign, represented by expressing honour and pride of people, leaders and citizens alike, in the martyrs’ sacrifices, and confirming the nation’s support to the martyrs’ families to embody the values of solidarity and harmony that prevail within the Emirati community.

#The_UAE_Remembers campaign, which runs through November until the Commemoration Day ceremony, includes several supporting activities and events that target various societal segments in order to motivate them to effectively participate in expressing their feelings of pride and honour in the martyrs’ sacrifices, and in celebrating this occasion. This includes school and university activities along with events and societal activities, including raising the flag and participating in a moment of silence to pray for the martyrs.

The campaign plans special programmes for school and university students to express their honour and pride in the martyrs’ sacrifices, through works of art that represent those sacrifices. These also include various sports and societal events within the campaign, in addition to youth events, such as workshops, meetings and programmes that uphold the meanings of martyrdom, sacrifice, loyalty and the sense of belonging to a homeland.

#The_UAE_Remembers campaign ends with the main event under the title, “A Minute of Silent Prayers”, on the 30th of November of this year, taking place across all the Emirates of the nation, with the collaboration of the relevant authorities and with the participation of all members of society, citizens and residents. This event starts at 11:30 a.m., when all citizens and residents, young and old, stand together to pray for the souls of the benevolent martyrs.

This year, the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of the UAE have issued a commemorative silver coin with the logo of the occasion on one side to memorialise the country’s martyrs, and the other side has the country’s emblem and its name, United Arab Emirates, around it in both Arabic and English, in addition to the date, 30th November.

The issuance of this coin comes as the Central Bank’s participation in commemorating the memory of the martyrs, as well as a token of appreciation to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s declaration in marking the 30th of November of each year as Commemoration Day to commemorate the sacrifices and loyalty of the country’s martyrs and sons, who dedicated their souls to ensure that the UAE prevails through the fulfillment of their national duties.

The Academy of Poetry at the Committee for Festivals and Cultural and Heritage Programmes in Abu Dhabi issued the first collection of poems about the occupied Emirati islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa and about the country’s martyrs in Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, written by the Algerian poet, Ayash Yahyawi.

The collection comprises 20 poems that follow the known Khalilian metre.

Not only is this the first collection written by an Arab poet to defend the UAE’s rights to the three islands, and glorify the country’s heroes in defending the Yemeni Arab identity, but the poet also employed the style of traditional popular topographic Emirati poetry and made sure that the collection maintains the structure of poetry as it was in the flourishing past.

The poet was also keen to draw upon the beauty of values from the philosophy of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, in which he called upon and employed the concept of building a nation with values, such as peace, forgiveness and loyalty to our ancestors’ identities.

The poet was also keen to mention the definitions of old words and terms that are related to local heritage, as well as mentioning the complete names of the martyrs. The reader will find aesthetic pleasure in these creative writings, in which the poet indulges in the UAE’s glories.

The Tawazun company displayed a unique work by Emirati artist, Maitha Demithan, commissioned by Tawazun to mark Commemoration Day, a painting entitled, “Safety”.

Saif Mohammad Al Hajiri, CEO of Tawazun, said that the painting is designed to express what Commemoration Day means to the company, and reminds all employees of the sacrifices that those exceptional people have offered on this day, as well as upcoming national occasions. It signifies the strong bond between the leadership and the people of the UAE.

In explaining her artwork, Maitha said, “It represents our country’s martyrs, the seven Emirates, with entwined hands among seven cubs representing the strong bond between our leaders and their sons in these hard times. Thanks to God and the efforts of our leaders and courageous soldiers, and what they do to protect their nation and its borders so we can live safely in this country.”

The artwork, “Safety”, is on display at Tawazun headquarters.

Marking the occasion, the General Headquarters of Civil Defence in Dubai has named its lighthouse station “Civil Defense Emirates Martyrs Station”.

On this occasion, Major General Rashid Thani Al Matroush saluted those martyrs who sacrificed their lives while answering the call of duty, “Including Civil Defence martyrs who sacrificed their souls to save other people’s lives, protect their property, and maintain our country’s riches.”

Emirates Foundation, a philanthropic organisation specialising in the development of youth, has collaborated with the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court to arrange a series of debates and interactive workshops revolving around the humanitarian relief and volunteer efforts made by the UAE worldwide, and the role of volunteers in response to emergencies and crises.

The workshops took place as part of the participation by Emirates Foundation in the memorial activities to honour martyrs on November 30th, the day assigned by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the annual Commemoration Day to celebrate those who sacrificed their lives for the UAE.

The debates focused on the UAE’s humanitarian role, internationally and regionally, as well as to explain how volunteers can participate in this field. They were organised as part of the Takatuf programme for social volunteer work and the National Emergency Response Volunteer Programme, both being initiatives of the Emirates Foundation.

Maitha Al Habsi, CEO of Programmes at the Emirates Foundation, said that organising the debates and workshops is meant to honour the nation’s martyrs and is an expression of pride in their sacrifices and heroism.

Al Habsi added that the debates are a platform for young volunteers to revive the values of dedication and loyalty that are rooted in the consciousness of the Emirati people as they give their lives for their country. The debates also allow youths to discuss ways that these sacrifices have inspired further efforts to give back to their country through volunteer programmes.

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and President of Baniyas Sports Club, has ordered the naming of the Baniyas Vs Real Madrid Legends football match to become the “Martyrs Cup”, and has urged the families of martyrs to attend the match.

Lt. Colonel Mubarak bin Muhairom, Deputy Chairman of the club and Chairman of The Higher Organising Committee, said that this initiative by the club’s chairman is an acknowledgement of the importance of the occasion, celebrated by the UAE, and expressed by the leadership’s call for people to commemorate the martyrs.

Lt. Colonel Mubarak bin Muhairom also pointed out that the solidarity shown by the people of the UAE towards their leadership and national issues of the country actively contributed to highlighting the event, noting the support given by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which itself confirms that the leadership of the UAE stands beside the families of its brave martyrs.

Bin Muhairom added, “We will not forget the words of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan when he said that the martyrs are our backbone. Nor will we forget his support and visits to the families of the martyrs and the injured, and his allocation of an office for the martyrs’ families’ affairs.” He also explained that the proceeds of the match have been allocated to benefit charity foundations in the country.

Also, the “Emirates Riders” have organised the first Commemoration Day convoy, with a gathering of motorcycles at Marjan Island in Ras al-Khaimah, after having started their ride from different emirates. The convoy was initiated with a moment of silent mourning, in solidarity with those martyrs who died in Operation Restoring Hope.

Sheikh Mohammad bin Kayed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the RAK Department of Economic Development, expressed his appreciation for the Emirates Riders initiative, being the first motorcycle convoy organised for Commemoration Day.

Mohammad Hassan Karam, Captain of the Emirates Riders, said that the convoy is a salute for the UAE’s courageous martyrs and their families, and an act of thanks and gratitude.

The magazine, Dira’ Al Watan (The Nation’s Shield) issued a new book entitled, “Our Martyrs, Our Guiding Lights” by the Chief Editor, Lieutenant Colonel Yusuf Juma Al Haddad, in which he offered a humanitarian and historical view of the concept of martyrdom and showcased how martyrs have been viewed by different peoples throughout history.

The book also offers a mature view of the concept of martyrdom and emphasises the UAE Armed Forces soldiers’ courage and their keenness to defend the homeland and its interests. It also shows the magnitude of the martyrs’ sacrifices made on Yemeni soil, as well as the sacrifices of their fellows who were martyred in other lands. The book also praises the strength of Emirati society and its benevolent leadership’s role in supporting the martyrs’ families and their love and care towards them, and describes the honorable reactions of the martyrs’ families and the world’s admiration of the unity of the Emirati people.

The author also said, “It comes as no surprise that the sons of Zayed would provide lessons of determination, heroism and sacrifice, just as those our martyrs displayed on battlefields against oppressors.”

The author also noted that his research is “but a small token of our appreciation for our sons and brothers who were martyred, and a testimony to history that those heroes kept their promise, so we pray that God might reward them in Heaven.”

The “We Are All Emirates” association launched a wide-ranging campaign to commemorate the heroes and soldiers of the UAE. The campaign comes as part of the foundation’s programme to remember the martyrs and their sacrifice for the UAE’s leadership and people.

The foundation will print the logo of Commemoration Day on the ‘Khalifa’ and ‘Al Ahd’ hot-air balloons which will fly over all of the emirates.

This initiative follows the directions of H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the Foundation, to use the most modern and broad means to spread awareness of the efforts of the heroes of the UAE and promote their message and their great sacrifices by exploiting the latest global and technical means, with the help of the Emirati people, as represented by the youth of the Emirati Air Balloon team and their efforts to represent the UAE’s vision at local and international levels.