The Guardian

The road from Rifle, CO to Silt, CO is wearily long to me on this day. Long and flat and running parallel to Interstate 70, it is a hot day and the pavement shimmers. What little wind there is blows the heat in my face. Beads of sweat fill the lenses of my sunglasses, wiping them is futile. It has been hard finding a soft spot in the ground where the flags would penetrate easily. Sometimes I use my screwdriver to make a hole. I want them to be solid and as permanent as possible in the earth. Approaching Silt I see an older man standing out by the road. He wears blue jeans and his hands are in his pockets. His eyes are hidden under a ball cap, yet I feel his gaze from a hundred yards away. It is time for me to place a flag, a young Marine from California. As I finish and move down the road I slow to a walk and meet “Darryl”. He knew I was coming. ┬áHe asks if I would move the flag down a hundred yards to a spot in front of his machine shop so he can watch over this young Marine. I oblige and replace his flag amidst the flowers that are out front. I am touched by his gesture. We make small talk and I learn that Darryl had worked in Uranium Mines in the Machine Shop back in the 80’s. His belt buckle displays the logo of his work back then. A proud man I can tell. A man wanting to help in a small way. As those that have left us watch over us, Darryl now watches over this young Marines flag. Each contact, conversation and gesture of kindness continues to instill my belief of goodness in this country. The “Guardian” waves at me as I roll away, my mission to honor is complete and his task to remember with vigilance has just started.


  1. Linda Wright

    As always love your words. We look forward to seeing you as you come through Fort Collins. You are such an amazing inspiration to so many. Take care, Mike.

  2. Donna Jordan

    Your writing is truly incredible, Mike. You will probably never know the impact you have had on so many individuals. Your words are precious.
    We’re hoping to see you in the Ft. Collins area. It will be an honor to meet you! Take good care of yourself. Stay safe and God bless.

  3. desiree

    mike….that had to be one of the most serile, humbling, tender moments along your way….as a mom i cannot fathom her pain but i can understand her love. How precious our your days so far and to come ahead…..we continue to follow and to believe in you every day. Be safe and see you soon….hugs,

  4. Erika

    Great work out there Mike. You are indeed an inspiration to us all. It is refreshing to see the good that is out there across America. Thank you! We always have prayers for you, Trent and Erika

  5. Trish

    I love reading your words! I am delighted and enlightened with each post. Love, Trish

  6. Teri

    I look forward to your posts each week. This one truly got to me as he asked you to leave that soldier’s flag for him to watch over.
    Peace be with you on your journey.

  7. Do Crowe

    glad you are blogging! we think of you often and follow on the map daily-what beautiful words to share the experience! be safe ! xoxoxo,Do

  8. Todd

    Well done, Mike. These experiences will create memories for a life time. I hope to see you while you’re passing through CO. Take care.


  9. Barry

    I’m slowly catching up on your progress, i’m just returning from a week in Montreal and Quebec with National Geographic and the Canadian Studies Center of University of Maine. I’l be teaching a geography, cultural class to the freshman in the fall. you’re making great progress, keep up the blessed work! You’re touching so many. Helping heal deep wounds that others have caused. Know that I’m with you in spirit . God speed. Barry

  10. Wendell Koontz


    I checked in to see how and where you are. It’s my pleasure to report to Hotchkiss the progress you are making. Be Safe and Godspeed!


  11. Lori

    So happy to hear another Flag will be watched over and protected as you continue your journey. Yes there are many Good People out here that live the Spirit of America. You being one of them. God Bless You on your Silent Tribute Across America.

  12. Janet

    The Guardian is my brother, our family is very proud of him and now you know why.

  13. Sharon Coleman

    We spend so much time griping & grumbling about the “bad” in the world, we are quick to miss the “awesome”. What you are doing, & the heart of “the guardian” lends hope that God is still in control & His people are still surrendering to His service. Thank you both for honoring the brave that have gone on before us serving our country. What truly amazing people you are.


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