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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

UAE Commemoration Day: Country falls silent to honour its heroes

Ceremonies took place across the Emirates to honour Emiratis who have died while serving their country

Ministries, schools and offices observed a minute’s silence on Thursday to honour Emiratis who have died while serving their country.

Ceremonies for Commemoration Day, which usually falls on November 30 but is being marked a day early, took place across the UAE.

Attendees wait patiently in sight of the Grand Mosque. The National
Attendees wait patiently in sight of the Grand Mosque. The National

The day began with the lowering of the national flag at 8am.

A minute’s silent prayer was observed from 11.30am to 11.31am, which was followed by the raising of the flag and the national anthem.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the rulers of the emirates walked in line into the memorial, as the military band played on.

As they approached the main arch, the army fired cannons, before each of the rulers was handed a wreath to place on a stand.

The rulers observed a moment of silence to pray for the country’s martyrs.

Soldiers then marched to the rulers and handed them decorations of honour to hand to ten martyrs’ families, as jets performed a fly-by.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed later said that "their memory will remain in out consciousness" and their relatives "at the heart of the nation".

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Speaking live on television, the son of martyred naval officer Abdullah Al Hammadi, Muhannad said he was proud to see his father’s name among those honoured today.

He added that the royal family sponsored his education following is father’s death.

When asked what he wanted to grow up to be, he said: “I want to enrol in the army, or I want to be in the navy like my father.”

“I am proud of my country."

The first Commemoration Day was marked in 2015 on November 30, the same date the UAE lost its first soldier in battle 47 years ago.

Salem Suhail Al Dahmani, a 20-year-old police officer, died while resisting the Iranian invasion of the island of Greater Tunb.

The opportunistic attack was made on the last day of a 118-year-old treaty that guaranteed the protection of the Trucial States by Britain’s armed forces.

Hopelessly outnumbered, the young officer from Ras Al Khaimah refused to lower the flag and paid with his life.

Commemoration Day traditionally falls two days before National Day to mark Al Dahmani’s ultimate sacrifice, just 48 hours before the flag of the UAE flew for the first time.