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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

UAE rulers lead thousands in Flag Day celebrations 

Social media has been awash with praise for the country's efforts

From flags pinned to chests to homes draped in the country's banner, thousands hoisted the national colours to celebrate the UAE's sixth Flag Day on Thursday.

At 11am, the national anthem rang out across the Emirates as schools, businesses and government offices held flag raising ceremonies.

Flag Day is marked to celebrate the accession of Sheikh Khalifa as president of the country and is ordinarily held on November 3, celebrations were brought forward by two days to facilitate greater participation.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid attending a flag-raising ceremony at Union House — where the leaders of six emirates signed the 1971 Union Agreement to form the UAE.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said the occasion was particularly poignant this year because it comes only a few days after the launch of KhalifaSat, the UAE’s first Emirati-made satellite.

"Today we celebrate another key national occasion, just days after celebrating the launch of our first satellite fully built by Emiratis. On this day, we remember the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives to defend the sovereignty of the nation. We also pay tribute to our brave soldiers in the battlefield who stand tall defending justice."

Addressing the 1,600 pupils who attended the ceremony, dressed in the national colours, he said: "On this occasion, I call on our youth to protect and honour our flag and make sure we fly it high in all sectors."

Al Fursan, the aerobatics demonstration team of the UAE Air Force, then performed a fly-past which painted the sky green, white, black and red.

The Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, congratulated President Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Thursday.

Attending the emirate’s Flag Day celebrations, he said: "Today, we are celebrating the values of pride and glory, and it’s an opportunity for us to renew our loyalty and continue achieving the country’s leading accomplishments."

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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, took to Twitter to say that the UAE’s flag was more than just a symbol of the state.

"The flag is the bond between the homeland and its children. We draw inspiration from its symbolism.

"The UAE flag will always bring us together with love, to draw from it meanings of pride, spirit and strength," he said.

Sheikh Rashid bin Saud Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, attended celebrations at Al Khour Park where he said that Flag Day helped promote patriotism among Emiratis and the youth in particular, who he said are the future leaders.

Of the more exciting acts of celebration was a helicopter flying a massive flag over the country. A video of the display was shared on Wam with the caption "Lift it [the flag] high, so it will remain raised".

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, also shared a video taken from a beach where flags have been arranged to create a portrait of President Sheikh Khalifa's likeness in the sand.

"Our nation, our leadership, our flag," he captioned the video.

At Dubai Mall, a 180-metre tall sculpture, named Floating Colours, was installed to serve as “a prominent reminder of the nation’s past, present and future,” a spokesman said.

Even schools got involved in the action.

Victory Heights Primary School were out in force to celebrate. The school’s Twitter page ran video of pupils celebrating along with this message: “Today we celebrate UAE Flag Day and we’ve raised the UAE flag and sung the national anthem.”

Repton School Abu Dhabi posted a picture of their pupils hoisting the UAE flag.

“Well done to our Year 1 children who helped to raise the flag during this morning’s this morning’s UAE Flag Day celebration,” read a Tweet.

Orient Planet Academy in Dubai had the following message for followers on Twitter: “The UAE Flag soars high thanks to our leader’s wisdom and the nation’s united spirit.”

Gems Royal School in Dubai celebrated in style, and The National was there to witness it.

Ben Voborsky, deputy superintendent at Dubai American Academy, posted about how more than 2,750 pupils and staff had been in attendance to watch the UAE flag being hoisted on the school premises.

American University Sharjah also posted footage of the flag being hoisted along with a Tweet that it was celebrating as a show of unity, patriotism and loyalty to the UAE.

Residents also shared images and tweeted messages of support for the UAE.

Sameera Alhadrami posted an image of a flag draped from a villa with the message: “Raise it high, raise it proud, Happy Flag Day UAE!”

Reesha Khan Yusafxai tweeted that the UAE flag represents justice, peace, tolerance, moderation and power under which all Emiratis lead a decent life and enjoy security and stability.

Glaiza Cassandra a Filipina living in Abu Dhabi took to Twitter to send a greeting for the occasion.

“Shukran [thank you] UAE! May Allah bless this country!” she tweeted.

Dubai resident Omar Al Rakhaimi described the day as a wonderful occasion.

“Oh today is definitely a wonderful day on this great #UAEFlagDay. I hope everyone is well and blessed on this great occasion,” he said.