'Something out of a film': thousands turn out for military show in Al Ain
Thousands of spectators flooded to Al Ain International Airport on Saturday to watch one of the largest parades of military strength in the UAE.
The third Union Fortress comprised almost an hour of over-stimulation to the senses as explosions sounded, guns fired, flares plumed and cars burnt.
Visitors were treated to a level of action ordinarily reserved for films. Ground, marine and air force units, as well as members of the Presidential Guard, carried out several missions to show how they would manage and overcome an emergency situation.
Attended by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed, Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain region, and many other top government and military officials, the show also demonstrated the strength of a co-operated effort between each of the units.
Sheikha Al Jabari, 15, was particularly impressed by the fighter jets that performed an air show while shooting colours of the UAE flag across the sky.
“I was astonished by the performance, especially the flight jets. I loved the planes show,” the Emirati said.
Sheikha’s father was one of the organisers and the patriotic display only strengthened her resolve to represent her country positively in future.
“I want to study hard and do some accomplishments for our country. I’m planning to study space and astronomy,” she said.
Thirty-two-year-old Hani Mohammed travelled from Dubai to see the show.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was something out of a movie,” he said.
The Egyptian expatriate, who has lived in the UAE his entire life, said the performance invoked in him a sense of safety and pride.
“The UAE is one of the safest countries in the world. It’s great to see their military abilities as it installs a sense of pride and safety.
“When I hear the UAE national anthem, my heart beats and I feel a sense of belonging,” said Mr Mohammed.
Measuring on sheer excitement alone, the event appeared to be a success.
Each military exercise was book ended with cheers from the crowds as soldiers showed off their skills and overpowered their enemies.
Many visitors brought their children who wore military-style uniforms and carried the country’s flag as their parents shouted over the sounds of explosions to explain the objectives of the show.
Seven-year-old Abdullah Al Ketbi and his friends all wore military uniforms to watch the display on Saturday.
“I want to become like them when I grow up,” said the Emirati, referring to members of the Armed Forces.
“I’ve only seen something like this in cartoons and movies. I couldn’t believe what I saw when two men dropped out of the sky holding UAE flag. I would love to do that for my country,” he said.
Abdullah wasn’t the only child impressed and inspired by the show.
Sixteen-year-old Alya Hamad said that she too planned to join the military.
“It is very important to witness the sacrifices of our soldiers. We should all be able to give our country the greatest sacrifice,” the Emirati said.
“The whole show was perfect and it showed that our soldiers are trained well.”