Cold War-era artifact discovered in Decatur - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Cold War-era artifact discovered in Decatur

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The discovery of ID tags at a site in Decatur led to a search for their owner. (Source: MGN Online) The discovery of ID tags at a site in Decatur led to a search for their owner. (Source: MGN Online)

Morgan County Archivist John Allison weaves an awesome tale about a recent find.  

"Eugene McLemore, who works for Rick Hall Construction, was doing some work down near Butch Matthews Ballpark down near Cherry Street, a couple of weeks ago and he found this dog tag," said Allison

The tag reads, "John Ed Wiggins and Vetter Wiggins; 305 Cherry Street Northwest, Decatur Alabama. 5- 10-45." The tag also sports the letter "P."

At first they thought it was military-issued tag, but that was not the case. There was no serial number, no blood type. It turns out that "P" stood for 'parents,' according to Allison.  

"Some staff of mine here did some research. and we figured out they actually issued these to children in the Cold War days."

Allison said it started in major metropolitan areas and tricked down to cities like Decatur. The tags were given to children in case of a bomb blast, in order that the parents would be able to identify the child. The archivist said it was a big art of American culture at the time. 

This particular piece of American culture was soon brought to the attention of John Ed Wiggins' family.

Wiggins' son, John Alex Wiggins, said he was surprised to get word about the tag because there was a little irony involved.  

"The night before, I was talking to my wife about my dad in the military - and then I get a call from up here," Wiggins said. "It brought tears to my eyes, 'cause I couldn't believe we just got through talking about him and then someone calls me and tells me they got a dog tag."

In the newest section of Butch Matthews Park is the area where the dog tag was found. There is new sod, new grass and a new building. Part of it also lines Cherry Street, where there used to be a lot of houses - including the home of John Ed Wiggins. It was quite a find in Bobby's Bama.

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