Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What started as a misprint, is celebrating its 50th anniversary

Where you and your favorite kidlet can follow the big guy as he makes his way to your town:

This is the 50th season that NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air
Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa.

The tradition began after a Colorado Springs store's advertisement for children to call Santa on a special "hotline" included a misprinted telephone number. Instead of Santa, the phone number put kids through to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first "Santa" call on Christmas Eve 1955. Realizing
what had happened, Colonel Shoup had his staff check radar data to see if there was any indication of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Indeed there were signs of Santa and children who called were given an update on Santa's position. Thus, the tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States decided to create a bi-national air defense command for the North American continent called the North American Air Defense Command. Canada and the U.S. believed they could better defend North America together as a team instead of separately.

The Command carried out its first Santa tracking in 1958 after inheriting the tradition from CONAD. Since that time, Canadian and American men and women who work at NORAD have responded to phone calls from children personally. Additionally, media from all over the world call NORAD on Christmas Eve for updates on Santa's location. Last year this Website was visited by millions of people who wanted to know Santa's whereabouts. This year, the information is provided in six languages.

http://www.noradsanta.org/

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