'He asked us to give the UAE flag to his son'
The last WhatsApp chat of Ali Hassan Al Shehi with his family in which he advised them to pray and recite the holy Quran; and (right) Ali Hassan's son holding the UAE flag which was handed over to him.
Ras Al Khaimah - Families, friends of martyrs say love for country has increased
As most of the 45 martyred Emirati soldiers have been laid to rest over the last two days, the families of the slain heroes have vowed to keep up the spirit of sacrifice and loyalty.
This spirit of resilience and determination is evident in all hometowns of the martyrs, especially the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah to which 12 of the 45 Emirati soldiers belonged.
Sharing grief, a well-known Emirati businesswoman here shut her international café in the Ras Al Khaimah city to mourn the martyrs.
'Closed for mourning national martyrs' read the signboard put up at the door of the café.
"This is the least thing we can do for these heroes," said one of the customers.
Ali Hassan Mohammed Al Shehi, the 40-year-old martyr was based in Ras Al Khaimah city. Abdullah Hassan Al Shehi, his elder brother who works as a trainer in the RAK police, said his martyred brother joined the army 22 years back. "He was a sports coach, as well. We were actually known in the emirate for our sports achievements before joining service in the army and police."
Ali Hassan has four children, two sons and two daughters. The eldest is 10 years old while the youngest is two years old.
The UAE flag which Al Shehi has been wrapped has been given to his son as per his will. "He asked us to give the UAE flag to his son if he met his end in the operations in Yemen. This was his will."
'Calamity has added to our resilience'
Hazeem Al Musafiri, brother of martyr Rashid Al Musafiri from the Suhaila area, South East of Ras Al Khaimah city, said he was greatly saddened at losing his brother. "But such a calamity has only added to our resilience and love for our dear nation and prudent leadership."
The martyr - fourth among 10 brothers - was the breadwinner of the family and took care of his mother since their father's death in 2003. "He was married and has only a two-month-old son, Mohammed, whom he loved, but not more than the call of duty," said Hazeem.
Relatives of Al Musafiri said he had bought a new house a few years ago, but a fire which happened two months ago destroyed the house. "He could not repair or maintain it as he had to take part in operation 'restoring hope' in Yemen."
Eighteen-year-old Salem Al Musafiri, said he was told about his brother's death while he was at the Manama area of Ajman where he is serving as a national service recruit. "One of my seniors summoned me to a car driven by a soldier, asked me to change my uniform, and granted me a three-day leave, and then told me about my martyred brother."
Be strong, he told his son
"If it is martyrdom, that is actually what I am for and have even been dreaming of." These were the last words martyr Yusuf Abdullah Eissa Jaber Al Ali when he spoke with his friends over the phone.
The 37-year-old Emirati born in Ras Al Khaimah city is the fifth among his ten-member family. He was married and had four kids, the eldest, Abdullah, whom he had assigned the task of supporting the family.
"Yusuf joined the UAE armed forces when he was just 16, and spent his entire life serving his beloved country."
A day before his sorrowful death, he talked to a relative and expressed his happiness about the leaders' visit. "He was yearningly dreaming of martyrdom in the service of his nation defending right and justice, and fighting terrorism."
His country was his greatest love
Obaid Saeed Al Shamsi was quite a hero and the 28-year-old was known for his simplicity and addiction to camels. He even won a golden sword four year back.
"Martyr Obaid, though the eldest among his brothers, got married only four years back. He did not have children and he made his country his greatest love. He was more than ready to shed his blood for its service," said his 60-year-old father.
He used to call his family and friends often, he added. "He was smiling all the time, and was known for his tolerance and kindness.
"The last time he talked to us was on Thursday evening. But he called his elder sister later on Friday, the same day he was martyred. "He also spoke to his wife the same day, but the line got disconnected, and we did not hear from him again," he said with his eyes filled with tears.
The last WhatsApp chat of Ali Hassan Al Shehi with his family in which he advised them to pray and recite the holy Quran; and (right) Ali Hassan’s son holding the UAE flag which was handed over to him.
An elderly Emirati man being comforted after the death of UAE soldiers.