The National Day parade that lasted for about 45 minutes at the Doha Corniche on Friday morning was not just a treat to watch but also an overview of the country’s military prowess and heritage as well.
The parachuters and the para-gliders who descended on the Corniche, draped in the colour of national flags as well as holding huge Qatari flags, created a riot of colours in the sky and added charm and excitement to the enthusiastic crowd who had thronged the venue right from the wee hours of the morning.
The ceremonial parade started spot on at 8am with the arrival of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani who witnessed the entire parade along with HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani as well as a galaxy of ministers and other dignitaries.
A helicopter, displaying a huge national flag as well as the image of HH the Emir, hovered over the Corniche area as the parade started with the rendition of the national anthem and an 18-gun salute to mark the National Day, followed by a recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an.
Contingents from the Army, Navy and Air Force, Emiri Guards, Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya), Civil Defence, Heritage Police, Coast and Border Security, Traffic and personnel of Police College and national service and students of Qatar Leadership Academy were part of the parade.
One of the major highlights of the parade was the heroics of the paragliders as well as the parachuters.
The paragliders lit up the Corniche sky with a riot of the colours and various acrobatics. They also held large national flags and sprayed the sky in myriad colours.
The parachuters who followed created different formations on the sky along with minor fireworks.
Another point was the display of the military might of the country which included the forces of army, navy and air force. All the three contingents displayed their sophisticated artillery and the most modern weapons and other equipment.
Battle tanks, personnel carriers, rocket launchers, mine detectors, antiaircraft guns, fire extinguishers, infantry vehicles, anti-pirate frigates, interceptors, monitoring sensors, surveillance equipment, propellers and coastguard vessels were among the attractions.
The colourful cavalcade of thoroughbred Arabian horses and camels was yet another attraction on the occasion.
The bands from the armed forces entertained the crowds with an array of songs, popular among the citizens until the start of the parade.
A group of children dressed in Emiri Guard uniform took part in the parade and classic cars and dhows were also on display.
After the parade, HH the Emir and HH the Father Emir walked through a stretch of the parade route and greeted the crowd. They were seen shaking hands with people, hugging children and waving to the entire crowd while many tried for a photo opportunity with them.