A "big bird," conceived as a protest against the American habit of buying foreign-made goods, hatched just in time to become a very visible symbol of support for the troops in Operation Desert Storm.

Resplendent in red, white and blue, with a huge yellow ribbon around his neck, the 18-foot metal eagle has become something of a celebrity.Despite its isolated location in the front yard of creator Dallas Thompson, people are driving by to see it. Debbie Thompson, Dallas' wife, said one visitor even came from Idaho.

The Thompsons live 1 1/2 miles down the old Stake Farm Road from where the road leaves U-10, the main link between Carbon and Emery counties. The Stake Farm Road is about 6 miles south of Price.

Dallas Thompson, who manages the bakery department of a local grocery store, said he began building the huge bird a couple of years ago. He thought it would be a way to express his feelings about people buying foreign cars and other goods when products of equal value are available from American manufacturers.

But when the war in the Persian Gulf escalated, he decided to hurry and let the eagle be a salute to servicemen and -women.

His neighbors John Grandville and Dane Bradley helped with the welding and painting. Debbie Thompson said she helped with the huge flagpole, which adds a final patriotic touch.

About 250 people, including Price Mayor Louie Colosimo, showed up for the dedication. The names of local servicepeople serving in Operation Desert Storm are written on the yellow ribbon. A sign says "Hurry Back."

At least 15 local people are serving in the Persian Gulf, in addition to 65 Utah National Guardsmen from Carbon and Emery counties who are in Germany.

Thompson said he empathizes with those on active duty because he served in Vietnam.

Coincidentally, the symbol of the College of Eastern Utah in Price is a golden eagle.