Article in brief: The author highlights that raising the flag on our homes is not a new trend, and shares a relevant personal story about her grandfather.
The sense of pride we have as Emiratis for our country is very unique. I believe this is mainly a result of the great love we bear for our leaders. We grew up feeling the care and love our leaders have bestowed upon us, and that rendered us more loyal, loving, and respectful to them, the UAE, and all that symbolizes it.
Several initiatives launched to express such love and patriotism; most of which revived through social media. An example of that is the recent National Day trend on having the UAE flag fly atop every home in the UAE.
What many don’t know about this initiative is that it is not really “recent”. Many people long time ago had the UAE flag proudly fluttering on the mast they had at the roof of their homes at all times. My grandfather –God rest his soul- was one of them.
When my father took us to my grandfather’s house, I once asked him while staring at the fluttering flag in the house’s sky “Dad, why does grandpa have our flag on his house?” My father looked at me and smiled, then said, “How about you ask him yourself?” I was 10 years old at the time.
Unfortunately, some houses would have the flag atop too long that its color fades, or its edges get eaten up by the strong wind, but the flag on my grandfather’s was always intact, and that was something I also wondered about.
My grandfather was a formidable man. Kids wouldn’t dare talk to him, but I was too curious to be scared to ask.
He was sitting on his usual couch, like a king on his throne, watching the news so intensely. I approached him and asked “Grandpa.. You have the flag on the roof. Why?” It was unexpected that he actually muted the TV and looked at me. But he didn’t say anything. I repeated “Why do we put our flag on the house?” He asked me firmly “Do you love the UAE?” It was a strange question but I answered, “Yes.” He stared at me for a few seconds then said, “That’s not enough”. Then he raised the volume of the news and continued watching while leaving me in greater wonder.
It was usual for us kids to stay the night at our grandfather’s house. We loved playing football in the big backyard. So, the next day, I woke up and started playing.
It wasn’t too long until I saw my grandfather come in through the gate with a bag in his hand. “Hey, kid!” he called out on me, “come here”. I came closer to him, kissed his hand as I usually do because I couldn’t reach his head, and stared at the bag with curiosity. He opened it, and there was the UAE flag, folded. Then he grabbed my hand and took me to the roof.
I saw the flag up close. It was really big. I told my grandfather the flag looked in good condition and couldn’t see why we needed to replace it with a new one. So he took the new flag out and held it next to the one on the mast to show me the difference. I saw that the colors on the latter started to fade. As he was putting up the new flag, with the sun shining in his eyes, he told me it was never enough to just love our country, but we must also show that love, and make the effort to do so.
Although an Emirati, my grandfather wasn’t even born or raised in the UAE; however, the patriotism I saw in him, through his devotion, hard work, and intense talk he’d share about the love, loyalty, and respect to the UAE was like no other. There is a magic about being an Emirati, the kind that enchants you with love and utmost loyalty and respect, and surely, the charm of that magic never fails to extend to anyone who lives on this land.
May God protect our great leaders, and may our flag stay rising up high, at its best, in this great land.
Founder of @BetweenTheSips -a social media initiative that moderates social conversations. Alanoud’s passion is public speaking and designing infographics, reading and researching.
Through “Beyond Inspiration”, Alanoud aims to share personal experiences, struggles, and aha moments that can spark a flame within the reader to reach their full potential.