The opening ceremony and flag-raising event were attended by: H.E Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Chairman of Seaports and Customs, H.E Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation, H.E Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, H.E Sheikh Khalid Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Public Works, Sheikh Khalid Bin Isam Al Qassimi, Director of Civil Aviation Department, H.E Sheikh Salem Bin Abdulrahman Al Qassimi, Director of the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. HH Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, congratulated President of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Emirati citizens and expatriat residence on the 41st anniversary of the national day, considering the flag island and the flagpole as a symbole of expression of their pride in their national flag and their country, Sheikh Sultan continued to praise the young Emirati and their creative ideas. The ceremony was also attended by H.E Mohammed Bin Hendi, President of the Advisory Board of the Emirate of Sharjah, H.E Major General Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi, Commander in Chief of Sharjah Police, H.E Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq CEO, a number of members of the Executive Board and consultancy in Sharjah, directors of departments and government institutions, as well as media representatives and a huge crowd of Emirati citizens and expatriate residents. Marking the UAE's 41st National Day, Sheikh Sultan raised the UAE flag on a 123 metre-high pole, considered to be the 7th highest flagpole in the world, standing as tall as the flagpole in Abu Dhabi. A photography exhibition highlighting the history and achievements of the UAE was also organized as part of the event, during which Sheikh Sultan honoured Emirati citizen Monzir who suggested the of construction the flagpole through the "Direct Line" Programme which is aired on Sharjah Radio. The inauguration of Flag Island and the flagpole comes in celebration of the passing of 41 years since the accomplishment of national unity, the flag of which was raised high on 2 December 1971, so as to coincide with the nationwide celebration of the UAE's National Day. On the occasion, H.E Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, said, "The UAE has witnessed, throughout the 41 years of the Union, numerous landmark achievements in its developmental, economic and social spheres, taking its place as a regional and international leader and becoming a global example to be emulated by others." She noted that the great points of strength enjoyed by the UAE and the milestone achievements made over the past four decades would not have been possible without the wisdom and vision of the founding leaders of the Union, the Emirates' sound leadership and the ambition of the Emirati people. Speaking proudly, Sheikha Bodour added, "The UAE flag is a symbol of the country's dignity and prestige that must always be held high just like the UAE and its people." Sheikha Bodour took the opportunity to extend her profound congratulations to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Their Highnesses the Rulers of Emirates and the UAE people on the glorious occasion of the country's National Day. "The flag-raising by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah is a national event that comes on a landmark historical day," Sheikha Bodour said expressing her delight at Sheikh Sultan's presence at such a national extravaganza. She added the selection of 2 December for the opening of the Flag Island was meant to coincide with the birth of the Union - a landmark occasion on the country's calendar. Sheikha Bodour commented that being proud of the national flag is a true expression of loyalty to the nation - as we all share a love for the nation and work together to raise its status and safeguard its gains. She pointed out that these principles and values are firmly infused in minds by words and deeds. Sheikha Bodour urged the UAE's citizens to safeguard the country's national achievements, keep the nation's flag flying high, and to work faithfully and support the country's leadership so as to press ahead with the march of building and developing of the country. Sheikh Khalid Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Public Works, said, "Our presence at this event forms part of our national responsibility as National Day stands as the most prominent day on the country's calendar and for every Emirati. It is a symbol of the birth of the Emirati nation, spurring the citizens of the Emirates to continuously make every possible effort to add to the country's immense progress, which has become a role model to be emulated by the Arab people. The construction of Flag Island further emphasises the importance of the UAE flag as a symbol of the Emirates, which has managed with confidence to make great strides towards a better future while focusing on its rich legacy." Major General Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi, Commander in Chief of Sharjah Police, seized the opportunity to extend his profound congratulations to the UAE, leadership and people, on the occasion of the 41st National Day. "The Police's participation in the opening of Flag Island comes in line with our eagerness to be continually present at all of the various activities, especially National Day, that offer a precious opportunities to instil the values of loyalty and faithfulness towards the nation and its leaders among the younger generations and make them feel proud of their nation," Sharjah Police Chief said. He added that the occasion was a an excellent opportunity to emphasize on the principles and values on which the country was founded, as well as UAE's foundations laid down by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayn, May God rest his soul in peace, so that the younger generations can carry on with the march. Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq CEO, said, "The 2nd of December of each year is a treasured occasion for both Emiratis and expatriates, as it offers us the opportunity to express our love, appreciation, and admiration for our home country and its leaders. It is also a great chance to reaffirm our allegiance and gratitude to the nation and its leadership, as well as to consolidate the meanings of loyalty and patriotism in the hearts of the people of this great nation." He added, "Every year National Day reminds us of the outstanding efforts, devotion and sacrifices made by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of this great nation, and his brothers, the founding fathers of the UAE, who sacrificed dearly for the sake to ensure the success of the Emirates unique unity." Al Sarkal noted that the flagpole was commissioned a mere four weeks prior to its inauguration and successfully in collaboration with the Sharjah Department of Public Works, and Trident Support - the company which is also credited with constructing the world's tallest flagpole in Tajikistan. He expressed his pride of the completion of the Flag Island as a tourist attraction and national icon, which will include a large family theme park, an amphitheatre and art exhibition that exemplify the Union's march in progress. Shurooq's CEO further commented underlining the importance of organising such events, which stems out of their profound loyalty and allegiance to the beloved nation. He added that this extravaganza and celebrations engulfing the country demonstrate the great love of UAE citizens for their country. He lauded all those who were involved in the landmark project and exerted sincere efforts to bring it to reality. The flag-raising ceremony began with the arrival of His Highness Sheikh Sultan's convoy to Flag Island's venue where the flag hoisting was accompanied by the oath of loyalty, which was performed by 41 children from Police Friends. The audience also enjoyed the musical operetta "Fragrance of History" which was performed by students from the Children and Girls centers in Sharjah, as well as national and patriotic songs chanted by participating children. The event also included live musical shows performed by military bands from the Sharjah Police. The inauguration ceremony, attended by a huge crowd of Emirati citizens and expatriate residents, concluded with the release of 41 pairs of white carrier pigeons and balloons decorated with the colours of the UAE flag. Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.