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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Founder's Memorial honours Sheikh Zayed's legacy

This spectacular monument recognises that our Founding Father is an inspiration to us all

A video of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, is played during the inauguration of The Founder’s Memorial. Ryan Carter for the Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi
A video of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, is played during the inauguration of The Founder’s Memorial. Ryan Carter for the Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi

In a young country, there is a tendency to assume that stories of nationhood will remain constantly in our minds. But those with personal memories of the country’s origins will not be around forever. It is for this reason that the official Sheikh Zayed Founder's Memorial, unveiled last night to mark the centenary of his birth, is so important. It is certain to inspire all those who view it and ensure the Founding Father is never forgotten. Sheikh Zayed unified the lands that now comprise the UAE and paved the way for the country’s miraculous growth over the past 46 years. On the occasion of the Year of Zayed, it is important to pause and give thanks. But with the unveiling of the spectacular memorial comes a broader recognition that Sheikh Zayed still inspires today.

More than 1,000 geometric shapes hang from the memorial at different heights creating an image of the man from infinite angles. The Father of the Nation looks out over the Abu Dhabi shoreline and the successful nation he built. When the monument is illuminated at night, the star effect represents the durability of his vision. The gardens that border the memorial reflect the environmental stewardship of a leader who transformed a desert kingdom into a modern nation with more than 100 million trees and sustainability at its heart. The fact that Sheikh Zayed was a moderniser is reflected in the neoteric memorial.

In the poignant unveiling ceremony, images of Sheikh Zayed were projected on a screen as a 40-strong choir performed Allah Ya Dar Zayed. It was a fitting tribute for a man who put the happiness of his compatriots before anything else. Determined to treat everyone as a “special soul”, he opened his arms to people from all faiths and backgrounds. Today there are people from almost every nation on the planet in the UAE. With much of the region wracked with conflict, the enduring message of solidarity that Sheikh Zayed’s legacy represents is a rare gift.

Alongside Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the monument is another striking attraction decorating the Abu Dhabi skyline and will draw more visitors to the city. It has already invigorated the residents of this country. As The National reported, the Founder’s Office – tasked with planning the Year of Zayed celebrations – has already received more than 600 proposals for events and initiatives emphasising the key values of respect, wisdom, human development and sustainability. Today Sheikh Zayed’s inspiring legacy lives on through his successors and his people.