Passage: Men of conviction

It happened this week . . . the passing of two men of deep conviction who served their causes in very different ways.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died yesterday in a hospital near Tel Aviv, eight years after slipping into a coma following a stroke.

A hero of Israel's war for independence and many other conflicts that followed, Sharon was a general and politician with an unbelievable commitment to his nation's survival, and no reluctance in bluntly speaking his mind to friend and foe alike.

A steadfast opponent of Palestinian movements for most of his career, he shocked many of his supporters in 2004 when, as Prime Minister, he announced a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip.

President Obama yesterday expressed his condolences for "the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel."

Ariel Sharon was 85.

Ariel Sharon, former prime minister of Israel, dies at 85
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Ariel Sharon's conflicted legacy

Franklin McCain's actions spoke louder perhaps than his words.

He was one of the four young black college students who made national headlines by sitting-in at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960.

"The best feeling of my life," he told the Associated Press back in 2010, "was sitting on that dumb stool."

A chemist by profession, McCain remained active in civil rights organizations all his life. He died Thursday of respiratory problems.

Franklin McCain was 73 years old.

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