x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Credit for those who made party happen

The people who worked behind the scenes to make National Day a success deserve some praise.

On the Corniche in Abu Dhabi, and in all the other emirates, hundreds of thousands of revellers celebrated the 41st National Day yesterday in fine spirits.

And, quietly in the background, an army of people was making it all possible, from traffic police ensuring road safety, to restaurant workers serving refreshments, to maintenance personnel taking care of the grounds.

As another national anniversary passes, it is a fine moment to take pause. The holiday is always one of the most celebratory events of the year. As usual, a Federal decree announced a long weekend, which let many professionals and office workers in both the public and private sectors off work. This is part of the party atmosphere that increasingly defines the National Day celebrations.

There are some jobs, however, that don't allow for a long break. In many fields, people still need to be at their jobs - whether to ensure emergency services, or just keep the economy and society humming along. Indeed during a holiday, there are some jobs, such as those in retail or in hospitality, that are essential for the fun to proceed.

Firemen were ready for any emergency; medical personnel were on duty as they always are. Those may be some of the more visible professions, but it is worth re-emphasising that no event of this scope - nor any economy of this size - can function without legions of people in the background quietly doing their part.

Many of us will remember this National Day for the fireworks, the patriotism and the sense of civic pride that were on display. But it's worth a moment to remember the many workers who turned up at their job just as they do every day. In some professions, employees will get a lieu day or a bonus; in other fields, many workers won't receive compensation for the day worked, although they should according to labour law.

National Day is about uniting the nation, with Emiratis and expatriates alike celebrating what the country has achieved. Let's not forget those who celebrated the country by simply showing up to work.