On National Flag Day, people all over the UAE will be celebrating the achievements of this country by waving the UAE flag. But for these three Emiratis, the national flag holds particular significance, not just as a symbol of their country but as a symbol of their own – or their family’s – achievements. Here, they explain why they will be flying the flag proudly today and what it represents for them.
Noora Al Mulla, 27, is the marketing projects manager for Etihad Airways. In March, she took her flag when she walked 140 kilometres across the sand dunes from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi, as part of the annual Women’s Heritage Walk.
“I chose to bring my flag with me on the walk because we were a lot of different nationalities together doing the trek, and it was a nice chance for all of us to showcase our countries.
“The walk definitely connected me to more to my ancestral heritage. I was really surprised to hear that my own family had done this journey not that long ago. My aunt called me during the walk, just after we’d run into one of the biggest storms in 30 years, and said: ‘What are you doing? Are you crazy? You know that we had camels with us – you’re not supposed to walk the entire distance!’
“The picture of me with the flag shows me feeling elated because we’d just done the final stretch. The last distance is always the hardest when you’re hiking, mentally you know that you’re just five minutes away but those five minutes feel like an hour. I was really exhausted. Having the UAE flag with me meant a lot to me. It gave me a sense of joy, pride, identity and strength.
“For me the flag means unity. The more united we are, the better outcomes we have. In this picture, the flag also represents the unity I felt with the expats I was with on our walk through the desert.”