The Wahat Al Karama (Oasis of Dignity) memorial site in Abu Dhabi honours the Emirati men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice by laying their lives down for their country. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, urged residents to join him in paying tribute to fallen Emirati martyrs.

On Monday, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed took to Twitter on Commemoration Day, where the UAE was scheduled to hold a one-minute silent prayer at 11.30 am on Monday to honour Emirati martyrs on Commemoration Day.

“May our martyrs rest in peace. Their sacrifice remains the beacon that lights our path in difficult times. On Martyrs Day, I would like to join the nation in paying tribute to their heroism and saluting their devotion to protecting our country and our people,” wrote Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed.

Commemoration Day, which falls annually on December 30, recognises the sacrifices and dedication of Emirati martyrs who have given their life in the UAE and abroad in the field of civil, military and humanitarian service.

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The date is a significant one as it 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.

“#Commemoration_Day corresponding to the 30th of November of every year, in recognition of the nation’s martyrs who shed their blood for it. This day coincides with the anniversary of the martyrdom of #Salem_Suhail_Khamis, the first Emirati soldier was martyred while defending Tunb Island against an Iranian attack in 1971,” wrote the newsite @UAE71news.

Earlier in the morning, the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office (MFAO) sent out an SMS to residents to be part of the nation-wide event, which was held under the hashtag #Proud_of_your_sacrifices.

The SMS read: "In recognition of our martyrs, we celebrate Commemoration Day, while committing to social distancing on November 30, using #Proud_of_your_sacrifices and observe one minute of silent prayer wherever you are from 11.30am to 11:31am."

The MFAO at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court was set up to oversee these initiatives, through monitoring and reviewing the needs and requirements of martyrs’ families, and drafting and implementing related programmes and projects. It is mandated to follow up the requirements of families of martyrs in coordination with other authorities and to provide necessary support and care to them.

Residents flooded social networking sites with the hashtag in both Arabic and English, which became a trending topic on Twitter, as they honoured the martyrs for their brave actions, love and loyalty to the UAE.

On Commemoration Day, the UAE will expresses its gratitude and respect to those heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation, confirming that responding to the call of duty is a requirement for every patriotic citizen in the country, to defend its achievements and accomplishments.