Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah: Omar Al Raisi is a 21-year-old Emirati, a business development manager and an entrepreneur.

Like many others his age, he said he is inspired by Shaikh Zayed and quotes the leader: "Real wealth is the hard work that benefits both a person and the community." He says this quote is his favourite.

Al Raisi celebrated National Day with his family and close friends. "We usually fly our flag on our cars and our home, we play music and sing and dance."

"The UAE looks after its people whether Emiratis or expatriates," said Al Raisi. He said the country has attracted a diverse, multicultural society due to its warm acceptance of other cultures and religions.

"There is much to be proud of and thankful for. That's why I am so excited about celebrating the birth of this wonderful country," he said..

Mohammad N. Sharaf, a 28-year-old Emirati from Dubai, said whenever he hears the words National Day he remembers the pictures of Shaikh Zayed and all the other Shaikhs at the Union House.

"They always used to show us that at school. To me the National Day means identity. Without this union we wouldn't have an identity. Before, we were small separate states. As a country and as a people we are stronger in unity."

He said he considers himself as a patriot. "I believe a true national works as hard as he or she can in whatever it is they do to make this a better place to live for everyone. That is what it means to be an Emirati."

Mohammad Abdullah, 44, from Sharjah, said National Day is like the third Eid in the year.

"The first thing that comes to mind when anyone mentions this day to me is our father Shaikh Zayed. December 2 is the day that all Emiratis celebrate the gift that Shaikh Zayed gave to us."

He said he used to participate in the parades and car decorating. "But now I leave that to our younger brothers, but I'm with them in spirit when I watch the [decorated] cars go by."

He hopes the youth of this country will hold on to this union and the values it represents and protect it. "On this day we don't say we are from Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah. We say we are from the United Arab Emirates," he said.

Young Emiratis in Ras Al Khaimah, said they feel proud to be the "children" of Shaikh Zayed

Ahmad Al Fahd said National Day is a good chance to present the UAE culture and traditions to the rest of the world and to the people of many nationalities who live in the UAE.

"The UAE has a rich culture from which others can benefit."

Ebrahim Al Namrid said Emiratis feel happy to present their traditional singing and dancing on this day. He said the growing interest in the UAE to mark National Day has been noticed, where every single department and individual is keen to take part in the celebrations.

Saeed Al Qeeshi said Emiratis get together as one on this auspicious day. He stressed that wherever an Emirati is, he or she will celebrate the occasion and remember Shaikh Zayed who built the country.