"My grandfather, Ozell Sterling Hinkle, grew up during the Depression on a farm in rural north Alabama, the oldest of 11 children. He enlisted in the Army in early 1946 at the age of 19 and served one year, stationed at an airfield in Japan where he worked as a machinist. Though he enlisted after the end of the war and never saw combat, the post-Atomic bomb devastation he witnessed in Japan stayed with him.
Politically, my grandaddy was fairly conservative (though perhaps more accurately could be considered a populist). When the Southern Democrats began switching sides, he switched with them and began to vote Republican. But then came the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though he had voted for George W. Bush in 2000, Grandaddy couldn't abide President Bush sending young men and women into harm's way without any clear justification. In 2004, Grandaddy was vocal in his support of Kerry.
My grandfather stood up for what he believed in. He set high standards for himself and expected as much from others. Grandaddy educated himself, becoming the first in his family to get a college degree. An avid reader, he continued to learn throughout his life as he changed careers (from farmer to teacher and school principal to insurance agent), and he encouraged his daughters' education, all three of whom earned college degrees and have done post-graduate work. Late in life, he often commented on how lucky he was to have three daughters.
Grandaddy died in the fall of 2006, a few months after suffering a massive stroke. Less than a year later, my first child - a daughter - was born. I named her Zella, in honor of her great-grandfather. I miss him so much." ~Jessica