x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UAE flag raised across the country in show of patriotism

Flags were seen flying from rooftops and draped across buildings in response to a call from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, urging the public to show their patriotism.

A thrillseeker flies the flag while parachuting over the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Dubai Media
A thrillseeker flies the flag while parachuting over the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Dubai Media

DUBAI // From the grandest of palaces to the humblest of homes, when the clock struck noon they flew the flag high and they flew the flag proud.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, had urged the public to show their patriotism on Flag Day, and show it they did. The red, white, green and black of the flag was raised at schools, government buildings, offices and community groups across the nation.

“We renew our allegiance and promise to the people of the UAE to serve them and their dignity, to sacrifice our souls for the UAE soil and be loyal to the flag and keep it flying aloft,” Sheikh Mohammed said as he led the nation’s celebrations at the Union House, where the nation’s founding fathers first hoisted the flag 42 years ago.

“The flag is a trust that we received from our founding fathers … it is a trust with my brother Sheikh Khalifa, with me and with every Emirati man and woman and a trust in the hands of next generations.”

In Abu Dhabi, the flag-raising ceremony at the Crown Prince Court was led by Jaber Al Suwaidi, the general director.

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, called the day “a symbol of unity”.

“Celebrations echo the first day on which the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, and his late brothers, the founders of the UAE Union, hoisted the flag on December 2, 1971, which has become the ‘day of truth’ as it symbolises the birth of the nation and Emirati people,” Sheikh Saif said.

Staff at Dubai Municipality headquarters raised flags, released balloons and even handed out ice cream specially made in the national colours as part of the celebrations.

“It was a wonderful celebration and was inspired to bring people together and I think it did that,” said Mohammed Al Noori, director of marketing at Dubai Municipality.

“We had a fantastic celebration and along with the flag raising there was a balloon release and we gave out badges with the UAE colours.

“The flag represents the unity of the people and all of the emirates. Today I also had more calls from expatriates wanting to show their support for the day and I think it has helped to create a real sense of community togetherness.”

That sense was evident at the India Club Dubai on Oud Metha Road, where members held held their own flag ceremony.

“Indians have been part of the UAE since before it was united and we felt it was important to show our appreciation for the country we have been a part of to hoist the UAE flag here,” said Ram Buxani, the club’s chairman.

“We decided to do something after Sheikh Mohammed said the flag raising was open for non-Emiratis to celebrate”

Mr Buxani, who has lived in Dubai for 52 years, said it was important for expatriates to know the history of the country.

“Many of the younger ones who have come to the UAE will probably not know anything about how the UAE was founded,” he said. “But having an event like this can really help to raise awareness of the history of the country.”

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority organised flag-raising ceremonies at heritage sites and public libraries. They also raised the highest sail mast in the historic Al Shindagha neighbourhood, and Hatta Heritage Village was decorated in national colours.

Flags were also distributed to tenants and visitors to the old Al Fahidi neighbourhood and people living in Hatta.

Senior officials and members of staff at Dubai Health Authority took part in ceremonies with flags put up at the DHA headquarters, and similar events took place at Nakheel’s head office near the Palm Jumeirah monorail station.

Giant flags were installed at Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre and Al Futtaim Automotive adorned its Toyota stand at the Dubai Motorshow with the national colours.

Dubai Women’s College took part in specially organised events and staff at Dubai Airport Freezone also made cakes for the day.

There were similar activities at Dewa, Emirates NBD, Dubai Financial Market, Dubai Airport and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority offices.

As well as a flag raising, telecoms operator du organised a Flag Day convoy by five branded Mini Coopers. The cars will travel the country in the next four days to distribute flags.

The official date for Flag Day is November 3, the anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Khalifa as president. The Flag Day campaign will run until National Day on December 2.

nhanif@thenational.ae