Thirteen brave Emiratis belonging to the UAE Armed Forces have returned home to a hero’s welcome after achieving one of the most challenging feats known to mankind.
After embarking on their mission two months ago, the team successfully scaled the 8,858 metres of Mount Everest on May 19.
Perhaps what’s most admirable about this party of mountaineering champions is how they managed to push through and excel in such a life-threatening climate, and one that is in such stark contrast to the sweltering desert weather they grew up in.
As they reached the summit, they planted the UAE flag in the ground, achieving their objective of commemorating the 40th anniversary of the unification of the UAE’s military forces in a truly grand style.
“We were climbing for two months but it was five years of hard work and training, so it’s not easy to put it into words and to describe how I felt at the moment when we made it to the top,” group member Abdul Aziz Thamini was quoted as saying by Gulf News.
As they flew into Abu Dhabi on Thursday, they were greeted and congratulated by friends and family, as well as UAE Armed Forces officials and Shaikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the board of trustees of the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had a kind gesture with the men by sending them a handwritten letter in which he praised their physical and mental resilience.
“To be able to put our flag at the top of the world is our small way of giving something back to our country and government,” added Thamini.
“This is only the beginning, we want to continue on to other things and to build something new and, hopefully, we will be able to do more for our country.”
The group - who were given invaluable assistance by three mountaineering experts - are the largest military team from the Middle East to have ever conquered Everest.