Page 13 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine IV

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On that night, forty years ago, the nation danced, sang and feasted in the streets. The
atmosphere was one of jubilant festivity; flags were flown from homes and public buildings,
the thoroughfare was ablaze with illuminations and generations clamoured to catch a
glimpse of the uniformed militia proudly parading through their cities, towns and villages.
It was a momentous celebration of freedom and unity unrivalled by any other. For on that night, forty years
ago, the United Arab Emirates declared its independence from the United Kingdom and formed a federation
of its own – Seven Emirates became one and one man’s dream became the nation’s future.
It was December 2nd 1971 and, with the federation declared, countries all around the world sent their
messages of congratulation and recognition, while in New York, the United Arab Emirates became the
newest member of the United Nations. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s inspiring vision had brought
about a far-reaching change that shaped the UAE as we now know it, and the world rejoiced.
The late Sheikh Zayed enjoyed a monumental lifetime. A great leader, he had always loved, believed in, and
held a deep affinity for the spirit of United Arab Emirates – its kindness, beneficence, passion and humanity.
The love he consistently bestowed upon his people emanated from his faith in these very things.
Forty years ago, when the federation was formed under his guidance, he asked the people to forever act as one.
He not only wanted a union that would stand the test of time, but one that would display the unique spirit of
the nation. It is this spirit, his spirit, which is celebrated every year. Forty summers have passed since that first
electrifying unification of the country and National Day is an opportunity to remember that, whether day or
night, the sun never sets on our unity.
Today, the nation is made up of faces from different places, bringing with them personalities from every
corner of the globe. Yet it is our spirit that binds us. As we celebrate the 40th United Arab Emirates National
Day, it’s fitting that we reflect on the Spirit of the Union over a spectacular forty day celebration.