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Israel's Ariel Sharon Laid to Rest


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Leaders from around the world gathered in Israel Monday to say a final farewell to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Sharon died Saturday after living more than eight years in a coma from a massive cerebral hemorrhage in 2006. He was 85.

Sharon's official state memorial began outside Israel's parliament building in Jerusalem. Leaders like U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair paid homage to Sharon.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, a longtime friend of Sharon, called him a "man of the land" and a "military legend."

Sharon's body made the trip from the parliament to southern Israel and Sharon's ranch.

On the way, Israel's military honored Sharon at Latrun, the site of one of the Jewish state's pivotal battles during the War of Independence in 1948, where Sharon fought and was wounded. Then his body made its way to his ranch and final resting place.

At the gravesite, Sharon's two children, Gilad, and Omri, had their shirts torn as a biblical sign of mourning. His son, Gilad, declared his father turned the impossible into reality.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz saluted Sharon as commander and said the IDF would continue to emulate his military initiatives.

Sharon leaves behind a rich legacy in Israel's modern history.

For nearly 60 years -- for better or for worse -- Sharon was on the front lines of Israel's military and political battles.

Sharon was lionized for his heroics in the 1967 Six Day War and for how he turned the tide of the battle in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Still, many criticized his actions in the 1982 Lebanon War and the bitter 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Yet at his funeral, his supporters remembered Sharon as a leader who felt a deep responsibility for the Jewish state, its people, and their Promised Land.

He is buried next to his beloved wife, Lily, on the ranch he loved.

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