The UAE marked Commemoration Day on November 29, one day earlier than its official date, since November 30 happened to fall on a Friday this year.
Commemoration Day was announced in 2015, and every year, the UAE flag is hoisted at half-mast to pay respects to soldiers who sacrificed their lives to the country.
The date holds significant meaning to the people of the UAE, as November 30 was the day of the first Emirati martyr Salem Suhail Bin Khamis Al Dahmani, who was killed in 1971 just two days before the country was formed.
On November 30, 1971, Iranian troops invaded the island of Greater Tunb, and Al Dahmani was instructed to lower the flag of Ras Al Khaimah. Al Dahmani, who was in his early twenties at the time and head of the island’s six-strong police force, refused and raised the flag.
He was then shot by Iranian troops for his act of defiance while he was holding the flag.
The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) also issued a commemorative silver coin, a commemorative one dirham coin, and a Dh100 denomination bank note with ‘Year of Zayed’ logo, for the 47th National Day.
The Central Bank will issue 5,000 silver commemorative coins weighing 60 grams each. The front of the coin will feature the logo and the ‘Year of Zayed — 1918-2018’, while the rear will have the phrase “Commemorative Coin” and the nominal value of “100 Dirhams”.
The silver commemorative coin will be available for sale at the Central Bank main office and branches, while the commemorative coin and the special edition Dh100 banknote will be introduced into circulation, as per the established procedures.
Previously known as Martyr’s Day, Commemoration Day is held every year on November 30 in recognition of the sacrifices the UAE’s martyrs gave to perform their duties to the homeland. However, as November 30 falls on a Friday this year (2018), all ministries and government institutions observe the event on November 29.
Commemoration Day recognises the sacrifices and dedication of Emirati martyrs, who have given their lives in the UAE and abroad in the field of civil, military and humanitarian service. This year, it is being observed on November 29 across the UAE, followed by a long weekend celebrating the UAE National Day.
What is Commemoration Day?
In 2015, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, decreed that November 30 would become an annual public holiday in the UAE. While a day off work is considered a welcome bonus, it is important to remember what the occasion signifies. It is not a celebration in the same way as National Day, but a day to remember and honour those who have given their lives for the UAE.
It is a time that will remind the families of those who have been martyred that the UAE has not forgotten them or their sacrifice.
Residents and citizens in the UAE are reminded to be respectful on this day.
What takes place?
Dignified commemorative events will take place around the UAE, under the auspices of government institutions.
At 8am, the UAE flag will be lowered across the country (at all government and government-subsidiary premises) and will remain lowered until 11am. It will be followed by a one minute’s silence and supplication from 11.30am to 11.31am.
After the one minute’s silence, the UAE flag will be raised again while the UAE national anthem is played.