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20 December 2008 05:20 pm

Celebration of a nation

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It was a day to cherish and a night to remember as Qatar’s history, achievements and visions were presented in all its glory to an admiring public and curious onlookers. “The Qatar National Day celebrations exceeded our expectations,” said Salman Almass Al Qubaisi, director of administrative and financial affairs and state bureau; and a committee member of the Qatar National Day Organising Committee. “The members of the Qatar National Day Organising Committee are very happy with the turnout of the event. And we saw many people along the Corniche having fun with family and friends, and enjoying the shows since morning,” said Al Qubaisi. Thousands gathered at the Corniche to witness the shows—from the parade in the morning, to the light and water show in the afternoon and early evening, to the spectacular display of fireworks at 10pm. Under the motto Day of Unity, Loyalty and Pride, Qatar yesterday celebrated its National Day to commemorate Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad bin Thani’s victory against the Ottomans and later achieved statehood for Qatar. Motorists get their cars decorated with patriotic images at vehicle accessory shops around the city. QASSIM RAHAMTULLAH December 18, 1978, marked a turning point in the history of modern Qatar. On that day, Sheikh Jassim was proclaimed Emir and is remembered in the history of the Arabian Gulf as the tribal ruler who stood against the Ottomans at the battle in Wajba in March 1893. He died on July 17, 1913. An Army Show was presented yesterday morning along the Corniche. “Our children, Zoheb and Salma, enjoyed the parade. We watched the event this morning and they were so drawn to the members of the military. This was the first time they’ve seen something like this in Doha,” said Sayed Zeulfiqar, who was walking along the Corniche with his wife, Alfrose, and his children. The military parade, which was included the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry and the Internal Security Forces “Lekhwiya,” the Emiri guard, all led by soldiers on horseback and camels wearing traditional uniforms, lined the streets along the Corniche at 9:30am. Cheers and applause greeted the participants of the parade. A one-and-a-half hour air show followed, where members of the Air Force participated. Not to be outdone, the Navy joined in the revelries using old sailing vessels and speed boats with the supply boat Mikhbat. Viewers witnessed the slide shows about Qatar’s history, heritage, achievements, values and visionary aspirations on the giant screens positioned on high-rise buildings and in Doha Bay. “We enjoyed watching the slide shows, my family and I, and we wanted to share in the celebrations of Qatar on this special day. We hope for Qatar to have an even better future,” said Mohammad Tissa, who was sitting along the seawall of the Corniche, watching the fireworks display at 10pm. According to Al Qubaisi, their five-month preparation bore fruit as they have seen people enjoying themselves. “We wanted to bring our identity and history, our rich heritage, our values, ideals and visionary aspirations, and our achievements to our fellow Qataris and to the rest of the world, and I think we have achieved that,” he said. http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&subsection=Qatar+News&month=December2008&file=Local_News2008121951011.xml