x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Students flag their true colours in moving salute to National Day

National Day 2012: More than 4,000 young people stood side by side wearing red, white, black and green as part of a patriotic challenge to show their pride in the UAE outside Emirates Palace.

More than 4,000 young people stood side by side wearing red, white, black and green of the UAE flag at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Dennis Araniego
More than 4,000 young people stood side by side wearing red, white, black and green of the UAE flag at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Dennis Araniego

ABU DHABI // Thousands of pupils joined forces yesterday for a colourful celebration ahead of National Day.

More than 4,000 young people stood side by side wearing red, white, black and green as part of a patriotic challenge to show their pride in the UAE, outside of Emirates Palace.

Waving and throwing their caps in the air, the pupils made what organisers believe is the largest moving UAE human flag.

The children, from 15 schools across the city, were able to see their creation from the sky through images taken by a helicopter that hovered overhead.

The picture was projected onto a screen in front of the participants, who gathered in the grounds of the hotel.

Organised by Emirates College for Advanced Education, an Abu Dhabi Government-funded body that trains Emirati teachers, it was a poignant experience for those who took part before Sunday's 41st UAE National Day.

"It was amazing and collaborative, all together," said Lateefa Al Menhali, 23, a graduate from the college.

"It was a great feeling. It's difficult to say it because it's from our heart. It's like our job, our duty for our country.

"It's simple things but it explains our feeling for this country, how we love it here."

Fellow graduate Amna Alobeidli, 23, also took her place in the flag.

"It was really a great feeling. We were feeling we were doing something nice and new for our country," Ms Alobeidli said.

"It was like you are a dot in a huge place. We saw ourself on the screen there. It was very, very nice."

Traditional music and dancing added to the festive atmosphere, along with the Abu Dhabi Police Band.

"It's a celebration so that our partners, which are the schools and their teachers who have so wonderfully participated today, can all get together and celebrate or show our appreciation of the UAE and celebrate National Day," said Prof Jim Mienczakowski, vice chancellor of the college.

Government and private schools took part, with pupils aged between 12 and 16, and some older college graduates.

ecleland@thenational.ae