On 19 August 2015, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed declared that each year will be a national holiday called ‘Commemoration Day’ to mark the sacrifice of those who died for the UAE in the line of duty.
The first Emirati martyr is understood to have been Salem Suhail Khamis who died on 30 November 1971 whilst fighting in the “battle of the Greater Tunb” against Iranian forces.
The holiday commemorates the honour and loyalty of its martyrs, in recognition of the sacrifices they made for their country, in the memory of its sons who have given their lives to keep the flag of the UAE flying high, as they performed their tasks and duties in the homeland and abroad, in the civil, military and humanitarian fields.
The holiday will be marked by national events held with the participation of all government institutions, Emiratis and residents.
The events will celebrate the pride of the nation in the values of dedication, devotion, loyalty and belonging of those who have sacrificed their lives on the battlefields and in the line of duty.
In Abu Dhabi, spanning 46,000 square metres and located directly opposite Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Wahat Al Karama is a timeless tribute that honours the Emirati martyrs who sacrificed their lives in service of their country. Wahat Al Karama is home to a permanent memorial commemorating the United Arab Emirates’ heroes, including soldiers, police, diplomats and civilians, since 1971.