US expats observe Independence Day in UAE

American national day celebrated earlier than usual July 4 by 60,000 expats to take advantage of cooler UAE weather

Barbara A. Leaf, US ambassador to the UAE


Dubai: Independence Day has come early for an estimated 60,000 American expatriates living in the UAE.

Traditionally held in the US to great jubilation and fireworks on July 4 to mark one of the most important days in the US calendar, Independence Day is observed in the UAE in the early months of the year for expats to take advantage of cooler weather.

The anniversary marks the historic struggle of early Americans to gain independence from Great Britain as witnessed in the signing of the Declaration of Independence by 13 colonies on July 4, 1776.

This year’s US national day event was hosted on March 5 by the US Embassy at the Marriott Al Forsan Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

US Ambassador to the UAE Barbara A. Leaf, who was named to the post on November 17, 2014 and is rounding off her three-year term, remarked in an address that the special day “unites all Americans in reflecting on the founding of our great nation and on what America means to us”.

“Like the UAE, the United States came together as a collection of distinct entities, in our case, states, joined by a higher cause — independence — and the higher concept of unity,” she said.

“The UAE is a much younger nation than the United States of America, with a vastly different history and culture. Yet like his American counterparts of a much earlier era, Shaikh Zayed (Bin Sultan Al Nahyan) joined with the UAE’s founding fathers in making a conscious choice to cede elements of sovereignty for the broader good of a newborn nation,” Leaf said.

“It is particularly meaningful to draw to a close my time here as ambassador during the Year of Zayed, when the nation is celebrating the legacy and achievements of its own great founding father. I have come to look at this country through the eyes of the people who revere him, and in so doing, I have gained a deep appreciation for just how much he set in motion in enabling this country’s remarkable trajectory,” Leaf said.

“In following the course he set, the UAE’s leaders have adroitly and strategically used the copious natural bounties of this country to develop the nation. But they have also recognised that the greatest natural resource is its people, and so have set to work to develop them to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.”

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