Flags and fireworks


National pride will be felt throughout Saudi Arabia today, the country’s 88th national day. On this day, Sept. 23, people who assisted in the Kingdom’s founding will be honored and the milestones that the country has achieved will be remembered.

It was on this date in 1930 when King Abdulaziz announced the unification of the country as a kingdom and under one banner. From then onwards, national day has marked the nationhood of this nation and the birth of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an independent nation.

A country’s past often sets the tone for its present and future. As the Kingdom celebrates its short but rich history, it bases its present domestic and foreign state of affairs on the principles upon which it was founded. As such, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, Saudi Arabia has taken giant steps to reform and modernize in an effort to prepare the country for the future. It continues to focus on diversifying its economy as part of Vision 2030, the highly ambitious transition that will develop public service sectors across the board.

On the foreign front, Saudi Arabia’s principled positions have gained the world’s admiration and respect. The country continues to reiterate its support for the path of stability and peace in Yemen through the restoration of the institutions of legality and the end of that country’s coup. It reiterates its declaration of support for an independent Palestinian state. It restates its calls for regime change in Syria. It repeats the position of the quartet of nations, which it leads, that Qatar must unambiguously and unequivocally disassociate itself from groups which seek to harm the Kingdom, the region and the world at large. And it highlights its commitment to work with the international community to ensure that Iran never acquires the ability to possess weapons of mass destruction.

On this occasion, Saudis are proud to celebrate their country’s domestic milestones, none more so than the monumental shift that has changed the lives of Saudi women. In June, women across Saudi Arabia were allowed to drive for the first time. That was a sea change that at the same time ushered in a whole new world for women. Women in the Kingdom can now access basic rights, including in education and healthcare, can open their own businesses, enlist in the military and, if they get divorced, retain custody of their children. And the number of women working in the private sector has soared 130 percent from 2013.

Women can now enter stadiums to watch live sports and they can jog and perform physical exercise on the streets. For families, the country has opened cinemas and has begun building a multi-billion dollar entertainment city 2.5 times the size of Disney World.

To highlight the achievements of this nation, strengthen the national identity of its individuals and enhance their pride on this day, Saudi Arabia is preparing to break two Guinness world records: Launching 900,000 fireworks simultaneously from 58 platforms in 13 provinces, and using the light from the pyrotechnics to produce the Saudi flag.

Today’s celebrations are an opportunity to learn about Saudi Arabian heritage, customs and traditions, to appreciate the beauty of the country, and promote pride in it and its rich history. It is a story that tells the journey of the people of the Kingdom who built their country, a land rich in natural and cultural diversity.

Love and loyalty are today’s operative words. Every Saudi citizen and expatriate partakes in today’s festivities to show their deep gratitude towards the country while supporting the efforts of the government to improve the quality of life inside the Kingdom, guarantee its security and prosperity, and secure a bright future for its people.