Commemoration Day

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Commemoration Day
Observed by United Arab Emirates
TypeNational holiday
SignificanceMarked annually from 2015, remembering fallen soldiers
DateDecember 1
Next time1 December 2021 (2021-12-01)

Commemoration Day, previously known as Martyrs' Day (Arabic: يوم الشهيد yawm ash-shahiid), is marked annually on December 1 in the United Arab Emirates, recognising 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. The Day was previously observed on 30th of November (pre-2019). [1]


The first Emirati policeman to die is Salem bin Khamis Al Dahmani on November 30, 1971, during the exploiting of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by Iranian forces shortly before the UAE’s formation. Al Dahmani led a six-member police force on Greater Tunb. The island was invaded by Iran on the eve of Federation. He refused to lower the flag of Ras Al Khaimah, and he was killed by the Iranian navy.[2]

On August 19, 2015, the date of Al Dahmani's death was announced as an official commemoration day and that 30 November would be observed as Martyrs Day every year.[3]

Martyrs timeline[edit]

The soldiers who fell during the First Gulf War (1990-1991) while liberating Kuwait will also be remembered along with martyrs such as Saif Ghubash, the government minister who was assassinated in 1977, and Khalifa Al Mubarak, an Emirati ambassador who was assassinated in 1984. Others who have died in the line of duty will always be honoured.[4]

"Operation Restoring Hope" in Yemen[edit]

UAE armed forces joined "Operation Restoring Hope" under the Saudi Arabia-led Arab alliance in 2015 to support the Aden-based government recognized by the Gulf states. The number of UAE soldiers martyred in Yemen rose to 45. The UAE government announced a three-day mourning period from September 5, 2015, with flags to be flown at half-mast.[5]


Commemorative and national ceremonies and events will be organised nationwide on December 1. All state institutions, nationals and non-nationals will be engaged to promote, mark and remember the values of sacrifice, dedication and loyalty, of the UAE citizens who sacrificed their lives in battles of heroism, dedication and national duty.[6] The holiday will honour the heroes with nationwide remembrance to those who gave their souls for their homeland.[2]


Commemorating the UAE’s fallen heroes on November 30 every year from 2015 will be a tribute to UAE's heroes.[4]

Wahat Al Karama (Arabic: واحة الكرامة‎), which is also known by its English translation Oasis of Dignity, is a war memorial and monument in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates located across Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to commemorate all Emiratis who were killed in the line of duty. The memorial was unveiled on the United Arab Emirates Commemoration Day on 30 November 2016.[7] The memorial is composed of three structures: the leaning pillars, the pavilion of honor, and the memorial plaza. The names of all Emirati soldiers who were killed in duty are inscribed in the pavilion of honor.[8]

Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, ordered that a square be dedicated in honour of the servicemen. Building of a monument is proposed to honour those who died in the line of duty is to be inaugurated on Martyrs’ Day.[9] Sharjah will be installing a martyrs’ monument on Maliha Road, near the Sharjah Centre for Space and Astronomy, and a road in Sharjah University City will be renamed Martyr’s Road.[4]

A martyrs’ square and memorial will be built in Al Alam Park in Ajman.[4]

The road linking the emirates of Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, has been renamed as 'Martyrs Street' or 'Shuhada Street' in Arabic, in memory of the martyrs as a tribute.[10]


  1. ^ "Martyrs' Day holiday announced in UAE". GulfNews. 19 August 2015. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Martyrs' Day a source of pride for mothers UAE's of fallen soldiers". 19 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  3. ^ "UAE announces Martyr's day, but why November 30?". Al Arabiya News Middle East 20 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Martyrs' Day a fitting tribute to UAE's heroes". 10 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  5. ^ "3 days of mourning declared in UAE for martyrs in Yemen". 5 September 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Khalifa declares Martyr's Day; November 30 to be public holiday". 19 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Wahat Al Karama". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  8. ^ Al Nowais, Shireena (27 November 2018). "Abu Dhabi's war memorial is an 'oasis of dignity' for UAE's heroes". The National.
  9. ^ "Square in Sharjah to be dedicated to the UAE's fallen soldiers". 19 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  10. ^ "'Martyrs Street' launched between Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah". 14 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.