UAE Army officer explains: Why Commemoration and National Days complement each other

Commemoration Day honours not only the country's fallen soldiers but all others who worked in different fields and contributed to the nation



Col Staff Pilot Abdulnasir Mohammed Saif Al Hameedi, official spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence — Photo by Neeraj Murali
Col Staff Pilot Abdulnasir Mohammed Saif Al Hameedi, official spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence — Photo by Neeraj Murali
by

Lamya Tawfik

Published: Wed 30 Nov 2022, 3:41 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Nov 2022, 6:24 PM

Celebrated every year just one day apart, the UAE's Commemoration Day and National Day complement each other: While one is a reminder of the sacrifices of the past, the other celebrates the country's achievements as it looks into the future, an Army colonel explained.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Col Staff Pilot Abdulnasir Mohammed Saif Al Hameedi, official spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence, said that Commemoration Day — established in 2015 by the late president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan — is a key public holiday as it honours the sacrifices people had done for the Emirates.

“They are an example of giving and sacrificing, which is based on the values of the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed. We live by these values and we give them to the younger generations so that they may excel into the future with this mindset,” said Col Staff Pilot Al Hameedi.

"This year, we are sad that we lost our former president, the late Sheikh Khalifa, but at the same time, we’re going into the future through the mission to the Moon. We’re achieving his vision by going into the future."

November 30 had been chosen for Commemoration Day because on this day, a policeman — Salem Suhail Khamis — was killed while defending the Greater Tunb Island.

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“He was protecting the flag and the Iranian forces wanted him to lower it. When he refused to lower it, they fired at him. It was the vision of Sheikh Khalifa to mark that day to honour the greatest example of an individual who served his country,” said Col Staff Pilot Al Hameedi, adding that it was coincidental that this incident took place only two days before the unification on December 2, 1971.

The day honours the lives of not only those who were in the Armed Forces but also those who worked in different fields and contributed to the nation, including humanitarian and diplomatic missions, he explained.

He said that it’s important for all residents in the UAE to understand the importance of Commemoration Day.

“We treat all residents in the UAE equally. We are a country of tolerance. So, when we mourn something or when we celebrate something, (it would be appreciated if) all people would celebrate or mourn with us,” he said.

Whoever lives in the UAE is in safe hands, the colonel added. “Those in the Armed Forces are willing to give their lives to protect the country and whoever is living in it."

As someone serving in the Army, Col Staff Pilot Al Hameedi said that he is proud to be part of an organisation whose members are always ready to lay down their lives for the nation.

“I take it as an example of positivity and courage to give further to the country because I respect those lives and the sacrifices they gave,” he said.

He encouraged young Emiratis to work harder and take the people who sacrificed their lives as an example to give even more to their country.

He said that amidst regional conflicts, he hopes that the UAE stays stable and prosperous for generations to come. “This will only happen if every individual who lives in this country – local or expat — works hard to achieve that,” he said.

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