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Why do you look so sad when we come here dad?
You look like your going to cry or something
Are you hurting or in some kind of pain dad?

No son my friend from school is buried here
He died in Vietnam back in February of 1969
He was hit by shrapnel from an enemy grenade

And his family buried his body right here
And this is why I come out to talk to him
He's in heaven with God but his body's here

And even though we can't really see him
I know in my heart that he's looking down
He knows we came by for a short visit here

He was a very good man and a good friend too
He was married but they didn't have any kids
And I couldn't come to his funeral back then

I wanted to tell his wife and his mom and dad
That he had helped so many of us guys at school
We tried out for the cross country track team

Seniors would mess with all the underclassmen
My friend Don was a Senior too but he helped us
He wanted us to be good so he always helped us

Don had always thought of his team not himself
He wasn't a show off jock he helped the team
And because of him everyone did good that year

You see son daddy was a warrior in the war too
We were only 75 miles from each other over there
But I had to stay in Vietnam to help my team out

I wasn't able to say goodbye or go to his funeral
Grandpa sent me some news clippings from back home
They had written so many nice things all about Don

When I first got home I came out here to see him
But there had been alot of snow the night before
I just couldn't find his grave with all that snow

I came back here in 1972 when I was discharged
And placed some beautiful flowers on his grave
And each year since I have always come out here

Every Memorial Day and on every Veterans Day
I come out here to talk to him about things
And even though he's not here I know he listens

The reason I look like I'm going to cry is simple
I'm sad that Don never had the chance to have a son
Or his wife to have a pretty daughter like she was

© Terry Sasek - Always A Warrior - all rights reserved.


Dedicated to SGT. Donald Kent McLean 11Th Armored Cav. Reg. Troop K)
He was born on April 26, 1946 - He died in action on February 7, 1969
He was a good man, a good friend and he had helped many to reach their
goals when they thought they couldn't possibly reach those goals during
tryouts for our high school cross country track team. And even though
I didn't make the final cut for a position on the team, he gave me the
encouragement to at least go and try out for a spot on the team while
I was in my sophmore year in high school. It's really funny that just a
few short years later while serving in Vietnam that I was quickly able to
break many speed records that I couldn't break back in high school, it's
amazing at how much incentive you can get to run faster than you ever
had before when you have some mortars and rocket rounds exploding
behind you and I had never really thought that I could really run as fast
as that until those first rounds started to impact all around us. Just a
couple of years ago I was contacted by the medic who tried to save Don's
life after he was hit by shrapnel from the grenade that a VC soldier threw
at Don and two other soldiers that day, I had left a posting at the website
for Don's unit that he had served with on a tribute page to the men they'd
lost in Vietnam. Gary Coates told me how sorry he was that he wasn't able
to save Don's life and that he had talked with him just minutes before the
attack and how he still to this day blames himself for not being a better
medic, I told him that anyone who served in that war knows that not even
a surgeon could have saved him from the wounds he suffered. I told Gary
that instead of beating himself up with by having not been able to save
Don that he should remember the guys that he had been able to save over
there during his tour instead. Gary contacted me again sometime later on
and said he had taken my advice and was finally beginning to see the fact
that he had done every thing he could have possible could do for Don and
he realized that it was God's choice to bring Don back home to heaven. We
have stayed in contact with each other and are good friends now as well.

The Macomb Daily, February 12 1969

"East Detroit GI Dies in Action in Vietnam" – Sergeant Donald K. McLean Jr.
had been in Vietnam for nearly five months and he considered himself pretty
lucky, but last week his luck ran out. The 22 year-old son of Mr. and Mrs.
Donald T. McLean, 24301 Phlox St. was killed by an enemy hand grenade on
February 7, as his unit engaged in operations on the outskirts of Saigon,
the capital city.  Although McLean was ordinarily a platoon tank commander,
he was one of only two men who volunteered to go drive Viet Cong guerrillas
from their hidden tunnels by entering them after hurling in a hand grenade.
"We received the Army's official telegram, informing us of his death this
past Monday," said his father, sitting in the McLean's modest home on the
city's west side. "A priest from St. Barnabas Catholic Church, our parish,
also came over Monday. He had been sent over by a priest from St. Basil's
where Don's wife, Linda, lives." Ironically said the McLean family they'd
received a letter from Don the following day, probably the last one that he
wrote, in which he stated, "I must be a member of the lucky platoon. All of
the other outfits have been hit hard, but we have suffered no casualties so
far." "Don was our only son," said Mrs. McLean. "We have lived here in this
community for 49 years and we know a lot of nice people . They'll all miss
my son." Don, a 1964 graduate of East Detroit High School, had been in the
Army since October 1967. He went to combat duty in Vietnam last September.
Prior to enlisting, he had been working as an assembly-line man at Divco
Truck Company. He had been married less than two years. "They're going to
give the boy a military funeral," said his father. "His cousin, Dale from
Warren, Mi. another service man, is going to escort Don's body back home
from Vietnam." The funeral will be held at St. Basil's Catholic Church.

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