The Toll family knows how to support the troops. David Toll's son, Lt. John Toll, was deployed to Iraq in 2003. At that time, David raised a large American flag at his home in Gold Hill in his son's honor, as a show of support for his effort.
On Saturday, the flag came back, the right way.
Lt. John Toll first returned last summer and his father took down the flag, which by that time was tattered and torn by Gold Hill's Washoe Zephyrs, or the wind gusts that blow around the mountains.
He gave it to his son, who promptly took it back with him to Baghdad and flew it over the area where he was stationed.
"It has Nevada sand and Baghdad sand, and has been through winds in both places," Toll said.
He said the flag was a symbol of the support he received from home, for which he was deeply grateful, and thanked his father for that support.
At a party in his honor Saturday, Lt. John Toll turned the tables on his dad.
In a moving, informal but heartfelt ceremony, he gave his dad back the American flag that was a source of support and comfort as he defended his country in Iraq.
Lt. John Toll, with help from his brother, Christopher, brought out a framed object covered by a cloth and began telling the story of the ragged, tattered flag.
Then he pulled back the cloth that covered the frame to show that same flag, tattered and torn, and presented it to his father.
He also credited his mother, Andria Daley, and said both parents suffered because they bear the fear of what could happen to their child, and he was grateful for their support.
In another, more lighthearted ceremony, David Toll and Larry Steinberg inducted Lt. Toll and Christopher Toll into the Silver City Guard as drummer boy and assistant drummer boy.
"There was some hesitation, not on John's part, but on the part of the guard," David Toll said. "We were concerned he was overqualified."
Lt. Toll also thanked his friend, Dan Micone, whom he said taught him much about the military.
"You people should be proud that men like Dan are serving our country and representing our country," he said.
He also expressed gratitude for all the gifts people in Gold Hill and Virginia City sent him.
"I got jerky, I got little hand-knitted beanie hats that Iraqi kids are wearing in 147-degree heat because they love anything from America," he said. "I know people have different opinions on the war, but the support we get from this area was so important."
He also expressed thanks for the Nevada magazines that someone sent him, which he also gave to Iraqi kids.
"They loved them," he said. "They don't know what Nevada is, but they know it has beautiful women who will show their knees."
About 60 people attended the welcome-home party, in addition to family, and the lieutenant expressed thanks for their support.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-7351.