ABU DHABI // Although the official National Day ceremony was not scheduled to start until 5pm, thousands of waiting spectators were kept busy from 3pm with endless military and police shows.
People stood in lines before doors even opened at 2pm eager to be one of the first to enter the Zayed Sports City stadium where they were promised an unforgettable night beside all the seven rulers of Emirates.
At 3.30pm the stadium was already half packed. Children sat with their parents waving UAE flags to shows on stage. While boys wore wigs and hats covered in the flag colours, girls wore UAE scarfs and decorated Abayas.
First on stage was a military music orchestra, including males and females, all moving in synchrony. A live police dog show followed with a demonstration of how the dogs have been trained to attack.
Umm Mohamed, who had the UAE flag painted on her cheek, said she stood with her family from 2pm at the door to be let in.
“It was so busy in the morning, we had to go from gate to gate,” she said. “I cannot even begin to describe to you the feeling. We have already given our children the background of the events and the union, and they are living the experience with us.”
Umm, who is from the Al Reyamli family, arrived with the Al Hamli, and Al Qubaisi families, each originally from different emirate, but who today wanted to sit side by side.
“We are all one family,” she said.