Emiratis say Yemen has given them new level of respect for soldiers
ABU DHABI // Soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice for their country have given Emiratis a greater appreciation of the security they enjoy and the work the Armed Forces do.
News of deaths on the front line in Yemen “was like a slap in the face”, said Fatma Fikree, 27, who lost relatives and friends in the conflict.
With the UAE military playing a key role in Operation Restoring Hope, fighting Houthi rebels destabilising Yemen, came a greater realisation by many Emiratis of the safety and prosperity they enjoy in the UAE.
“This conflict has given Emiratis a greater appreciation for people in uniform and what they do to keep us safe,” Ms Fikree said.
Having lost three brothers-in-law and friends in the conflict she said observing Commemoration Day on November 30 was something people should be doing in their own way every day.
“For what our martyrs have given to us they need to be remembered every day,” she said.
Ms Fikree, a mother of two small children, said the conflict had united the Emirati community, not only with their fellow citizens but also with their Arab brothers who were fighting alongside them.
“Being together in times like these is important for Muslims and Arabs to show the rest of the world how united we are,” she said, adding that she would constantly remind her children of the sacrifices Emirati soldiers had made in their name.
Aiding her in teaching her children about honouring the nation’s heroes will be the memorial to be built near Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. “This is not only for the next generation but for many generations, so we can remember the soldiers for centuries to come,” she said.
Abdulrahman Al Shamsi, a financial analyst for Image Nation, said the memorial was important to remember the names of every soldier who gave his life for the country. The 29-year-old, who will be enlisted for national service in January, said he felt tremendous pride in getting the chance to serve.
“Name one country that gives as much to their citizens as the UAE does. Now is our time to give back.” Commemoration Day, he said, would be a bitter-sweet celebration. “We will mourn those who have died, but it is also a celebration of their sacrifice,” he said.
In the lead up to Commemoration Day The National speaks to the families of the soldiers who have died during the Saudi-led coalition launched Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen. Check out our coverage here:
Updated: November 23, 2015 04:00 AM