June 4, 2016
It's really hard to describe how prevalent Muhammad Ali was in the prevailing culture of my youth: he was a well-known boxer, star of his own Saturday morning cartoon, and a person bordering on omnipresent.
What I didn't learn until much later was that he was remarkable in another way.
During the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali - having changed his name from "Cassius Clay" after converting to Islam - publicly declared that he would not serve in Vietnam.
My memory is hazy on the details (learning about this incident from a documentary), but Ali took a highly controversial - and very defiant - stance by refusing to serve.
So although many others will (rightfully) mourn his loss because of his boxing and athletic prowess....I'll miss a man who demonstrated great courage during a turbulent time.