Over 100 nationalities unite to celebrate UAE's flag
Celebrations commemorating the UAE Flag Day took place across the country.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, celebrated flag day with over 20,000 school students from almost 120 different nationalities at Za'abeel Park on Thursday morning.
Shaikh Mohammed marked the event by raising a flag on a 12-metre flag pole with the national anthem playing in the background. He was accompanied at the event by his daughter Shaikha Jalila bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future; Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of the Protocol and Hospitality Department in Dubai, and a number of senior officials.
Celebrations commemorating the UAE Flag Day took place across the country - in locations ranging from government departments to schools, private organisations and the Dubai Opera - as UAE residents, Emiratis and expats alike, came to celebrate the flag.
In Umm Al Quwain, for example, His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, said "Flag Day is an occasion that demonstrates the values of unity and solidarity among people, and the nation. The flag is also a symbol of peace, affection, national unity and pride," he added.
Among the other notable government representatives to mark the occasion was Dubai Police Commander-In-Chief, Lt-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, who celebrated the event alongside the Vietnamese ambassador to the UAE, in front of the Dubai Police building.
During the ceremony, officers of the Dubai Police Cavalry Division took part in a formation of the UAE flag.
In his comments, Al Mazeina said the UAE flag is important as it shows people's loyalty to the country's leaders and the union, and noted that the flag day is particularly important as it marks the anniversary of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Flag Day was also celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety across Abu Dhabi, where Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development hoisted the national flag in the premises of the National Theatre.
"The ministry is pleased to start the Flag campaign 'Raise it High ... Raise it Proud', thus marking the official start of events at all the cultural centres and the Flag City in malls, initiatives in social websites to provide an opportunity for everyone to express their love and appreciation for the flag which will remain high as a symbol of the unity of the sons and daughters of the nation in addition to their love, pride and loyalty for their country," Shaikh Nahyan said.
Shaikh Nahyan also opened the Flag Exhibition of paintings created by Emirati school children and artists. As many as 120 talents, from schools and colleges showcased their work that highlighted the rich heritage and culture of the UAE. Some artists painted the work live. Among them were a group of girls from Al Dhafra Private School Al Ain.
"This is a day to be proud of," a student said.
Expats celebrate, too
Expats across the UAE also gathered to celebrate the national flag day of the country that they all now call home. The premises of the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD), for example, was adorned with the colours of the UAE flag yesterday as scores of students came together to wave flags.
"The Pak community stands side by side with the UAE nationals on their flag day. The UAE Flag Day is a very symbolic day as it brings all communities together under one flag and the Pakistani community has always been with the Emiratis from the day of the conception of this country in 1971 until today. Pakistanis enjoy a very strong brotherly relationship with the Emiratis that goes back in history and we hope it will continue in future too...Long live the UAE and we stand united with our UAE brothers," said Dr Faisal Ikram, PAD General-Secretary.
"We feel so much at home here in the UAE and have never ever felt as outsiders. We thank the UAE leaders for being an epitome of tolerance and allowing people of so many nationalities to live happily and peacefully together," said Samina Nasir, executive body member of PAD and councillor at Skyline University. "We owe a lot to the UAE and the least we can do to pay back to this country is to be law abiding and loving individuals," she said.
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