Commemoration Day

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Martyrs' Day
Observed by United Arab Emirates
Type National holiday
Significance Marked annually from 2015, remembering fallen soldiers
Date 30 November
Next time 30 November 2018 (2018-11-30)
Frequency annual

Commemoration Day or Martyrs' Day (Arabic: يوم الشهيد yawm ash-shahiid) is marked annually on November 30 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.[1]


The first Emirati soldier to die in the line of duty was Salem Suhail bin Khamis, on November 30, 1971, during the "battle of the Greater Tunb” against Iranian forces shortly before the UAE’s formation. Bin Khamis led a six-member police force on Greater Tunb, invaded by Iran on the eve of Federation. He refused to lower the flag of Ras Al Khaimah, and the invaders killed him for his defiance.[2]

On August 19, 2015, it was announced that 30 November would be observed as Martyrs Day.[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 November 30. 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]

Tributes dedicating the Martyrs[edit]

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

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.[7] 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.[8]


  1. ^ "Martyrs' Day holiday announced in UAE". GulfNews. 19 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. ^ "Square in Sharjah to be dedicated to the UAE's fallen soldiers". 19 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. ^ "'Martyrs Street' launched between Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah". 14 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.