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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Sheikh Zayed's accession 'pivotal point' in nation's history

Commentators pay tribute to his leadership as 52nd anniversary is celebrated

The Year of Zayed icon is lit up by solar lanterns in Abu Dhabi. Coutesy Zayed Future Energy Prize
The Year of Zayed icon is lit up by solar lanterns in Abu Dhabi. Coutesy Zayed Future Energy Prize

UAE leaders have led tributes to Sheikh Zayed as the 52nd anniversary of his accession is celebrated.

Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, said the moment the late Sheikh Zayed became Ruler of Abu Dhabi will forever live in the people’s hearts.

“That day marked the beginning of development for the people of the UAE and represented a pivotal point in the journey to establish the UAE,” he said.

Sheikh Zayed assumed leadership in Abu Dhabi on August 6, 1966, laying the foundations of what was to come — the foundation of the UAE.

On Sunday, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister for Tolerance, said the date is a source of great pride and honour for the sons and daughters of the UAE.

“Today, thanks to the vision and wisdom of the founding leader, we are a country in which everyone who lives on its good soil has the right to be proud of their accomplishments in all fields, as well as the pillars of security, stability and prosperity that we have established,” he said.

His sentiments were shared by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of Sheikh Zayed and chairwoman of the General Women’s Union.

Sheikha Fatima, also president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and supreme chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, said the willpower and visionary mind of Sheikh Zayed transformed the harshness of the past into a bright future.

“On this day, which is renewed every year in my memory, I believe that the wisdom of God made August 6 the beginning of a new historical phase in our lives, a great transformation and a transition from the past to the prosperous present,” she said.

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Last year, President Sheikh Khalifa marked the anniversary of his father’s accession by declaring 2018 the Year of Zayed. This year, it was commemorated in Dubai with the completion of a 140-metre mural to be displayed on the outer wall of Dubai Ladies Club in Jumeirah.

The mural focuses on four main themes close to the heart of Sheikh Zayed: wisdom, respect, human development and sustainability. The artwork will be in place for a year.

The efforts of Sheikh Zayed to bring the nation’s leaders together and support those in need has continued over the course of decades.

Since a memorial opened in April, built in his honour in Abu Dhabi, more than 28,000 people have visited to learn about his life and legacy.

The permanent installation designed by artist Ralph Helmick is composed of more than 1,000 illuminated shapes and recreates a likeness to Sheikh Zayed that can be seen at any angle.

Other tributes have come from Sheikh Abdallah Al Hamed, chairman of the Health Department, who said Sheikh Zayed was an exceptional leader.

“Great leaders leave but their life journey remains omnipresent and encrypted in vivid letters between the folds of history, and the late Sheikh Zayed, may God rest his soul in peace, is a great leader who is present in the hearts of the UAE people and whose life journey continues to be a beacon that enlightens our path.

“For the sake of his people’s well-being, the late Zayed devoted himself and worked hard to provide and harness for the renaissance and progress of this nation across all fields.

“We are now living his dream in a modern nation that embodies the most refined significances of cohesion and bond between the nation and its people.

“The nation has dazzled the entire world with its achievements.”

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