My Uncle Doug
by Denise Kempf Snyder
Dear Cathy -
It touches my heart deeply, reading your story, "Bride to Widow", [October 10, 2010], on the Memoirs From Nam Blog. I can’t think of anything else but gratitude that I feel for you and my Uncle Doug. My life has been blessed in so many ways and I can’t help but feel that the sacrifice Doug made with his life kept my Dad (Dennis Kempf) from being sent to Vietnam.
I have many beautiful childhood memories. I wish I could thank Doug, but I need to thank you. The sacrifices that were made in September of 1969 have affected my life profoundly and for this I will be thankful everyday of my life.
In a way, I have always thought of you and Doug as a guardian angels. My husband, Steve, and I were married in January of 1989. He was a Navy helicopter pilot in the first Gulf War. It gave me peace at night thinking that my Uncle Doug would keep him safe during that long seven-month deployment. I told my Grandma Kempf that Doug was watching over Steve and she smiled and kissed me. I knew she understood. Steve returned home safely.
I will always believe in angels!
Denise Kempf Snyder
P.S. Please, could you let Lt. James McCraney know that I was the little girl in the blue dress in the photo he spoke of that Uncle Doug showed him in Vietnam, and that I have had a wonderful life sheltered from the wounds of the Vietnam War.
[Note: Photo of the little girl in the blue dress was mentioned in the blog "Memoir of Douglas S. Kempf" posted Monday, August 2, 2010, should you care to read about Lt. James McCraney]
My thanks and love to you, Dee, for sharing your thoughts ... I believe in angels, too.
"There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken. There is a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable. There is a sorrow beyond all grief, which leads to joy. And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength. There is a hollow space too vast for words, through which we pass with each loss, out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being."
~Bri Maya Tiwari