x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE Flag Day: Thousands show pride and patriotism

Flags were flying across the capital, stirring feelings of pride and patriotism among UAE nationals.

ABU DHABI // Flags were flying at schools and government buildings across the capital, stirring feelings of pride and patriotism among nationals.

At noon, thousands gathered outdoors in Abu Dhabi to see the UAE flag hoisted and listen to the national anthem.

Mahra Al Amri, an Emirati in the capital, said it was a proud moment as she stood watching her beloved country’s flag flutter in the cool November breeze.

“It’s such an endearing gesture, small as it may seem,” she said. “It’s one way to show how proud we are to belong to the UAE.”

Many took to social media to post pictures and videos of flag-raising ceremonies held in unison across the country.

Thabet Al Qaisiya, who tweets as @Thabet_UAE, wrote that the videos on Instagram were enough to bring a tear to his eye.

“I love my UAE. I love celebrating this love,” he tweeted.

To most, the day meant much more than simply raising the flag.

“[We are] remembering what we want to be as a nation and want our flag to represent, as our flag and country are only as good as its people,” said Lamis Harib, from Dubai.

Ghada Zakaria said celebrating the flag was a way of showing pride in “our leaders and the continuous strive and efforts to help us grow and shine in the world”.

Others found the act a good way to start the countdown to National Day.

On Twitter the hashtag #UAE_FlagDay was used to share sentiments and pictures, and quickly topped the trending list.

Lara, who tweets as @LaraDarawshe, wrote: “Raising our flag high stands for our gratitude to our founding fathers. It represents our love and allegiance pledge to the UAE”.

Three Emirati siblings – Nora, Fayssal and Khaled Aziz – who tweet as @CreativeNFK, wrote: “We think it’s a great way to put patriotism first! We love our country!”

Ministers and members of the ruling family also took part in celebrations.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, said: “It is my great pleasure to participate with you and with the Government and the people of the UAE in the joy of flying the national flag aloft on every entity and house as a symbol of belonging to the UAE, and in recognition of the high esteem in which it is held in the hearts of UAE citizens.”

Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed, the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region, expressed his happiness on a day that has become a national occasion.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, said the act instilled values of patriotism, and the sincerity of belonging to the UAE.

“Raising the flag expresses the particularity of our nation, its identity, its components and the development of its achievements and its development indicators,” she said.

osalem@thenational.ae