The event, held at the family's Sycamore Ranch in the Negev where Sharon is buried, marked four years to his passing and 18 years to the passing of his wife Lily.
"Initiator, improviser, thinker, creative, surprising, daring, attacker," Rivlin said of what he remembers about Sharon. "Arik the daring attacker is Arik of Latrun and of (Unit) 101, Arik of the (Battle over the) Mitle (Pass), of (the Battle over) Umm-Qatef and of course of the crossing of the (Suez) Canal.
"Arik the initiator is the Arik of the Likud's establishment and of (Operation) Peace for the Galilee. And yes, also Arik with whom I painfully disagreed, the surprising Arik, it's the Arik of the uprooting from the Gaza Strip and the northern Samaria. Arik who always said the State of Israel will defend itself by itself, will grow and prosper by its own merit. Not because he dismissed cooperation, heavens forbid - after all, Arik developed countless cooperation initiatives - but out of the understanding that sometimes you just have to push forward, and that this charge, in all aspects of live, will create more and more opportunities."
Drawing inspiration from Sharon, Rivlin declared that "The State of Israel knows it cannot afford to stay in place for even a moment. It cannot afford to become a country with a status quo in security."
"Arik reminds us that we must not entrench ourselves in our own positions instead of undermining the enemy. We must not become addicted to the feeling of stability, instead of developing the ability to disrupt the balance of the other. The State of Israel must initiate constantly - in security and foreign policy as well as in welfare and education," the president added.
"Even when I disagreed (with Sharon), I admired Arik's willingness and commitment to thinking beyond existing norms," Rivlin admitted. "Arik Sharon's legacy, in many ways, obligates us to dare, to think outside the box, to always look a few steps ahead, to be women and men of vision and action, and all of this out of the concern for the state and people's independence."
Some 500 people attended the memorial service, including Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin, Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, former minister Gideon Sa'ar, MK Tzipi Livni and many other notable past and present Israeli officials.