Do you believe in Santa?
NORAD can help
Do you believe in Santa? By Alison van Diggelen, siliconmom.com ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house Was a rumbling, a mumbling that Santa’s a louse! “Santa’s not real!” says your eight-year-old sage Well, what do you say in this Internet age? Don’t tell him to listen, just ask him to sit And watch the computer as you navigate it If your kids are anything like mine, you’ve already heard outbursts like this from my son, “Ian’s big brother says Santa’s a fake!” These blasphemous rumors going around grade school would break your heart. No such thing? How can the words spill out of kids too young to remember a world without the web? Help is but a click away! There’s a government organization that will save your credibility and the faith of your little ones. It is none other than NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint United States/Canadian mission based within Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado. They’ve been tracking Santa since the mid-50’s, first with Radar, and now using their state of the art satellite systems. Rudolf’s bright red nose emits what they call “a phenomenal infrared signature” that makes their job easier. Since 1997, Santa’s nighttime mission has been accessible via the web (noradsanta.org). Just imagine, this Christmas Eve your kids can be bouncing around the house screaming Santa’s coordinates as he makes his way around the world. “Mom, Santa just flew over the Kremlin in Moscow!” your little ones will scream as you put the finishing touches to your Christmas pudding… I spoke to Deputy Director of NORAD public affairs, Major Douglas Martin, the man in charge of Santa Tracking. This jolly Canadian admitted, “Yes, it’s the favorite part of my job, very rewarding…it touches the lives of so many.” He’s not joking. Last year they had 294 million hits from sixty countries and fielded 27,000 phone calls from eager kids. This year, Major Martin has obtained help from ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr. Was it was tough to persuade him to help? “Ringo and Santa are close personal friends,” Martin confirmed, “Santa had put a call through ahead of me.” And so Ringo was only to eager to oblige. In a radio interview Martin shared with me, Ringo remains true to his Beatles days, “The great greeting is for peace and love all over the world,” he said. On Christmas Eve, Ringo Starr will operate the SantaCam to capture images of Santa flying over Great Britain. Like many inspired ideas, NORAD’s Santa Tracking started by accident. In 1955, a local store advertised a Santa Hotline inviting kids to call. However the phone number was mistyped. It connected kids instead to the Commander in Chief’s operations hotline. Colonel Harry Shoup took the first call from an excited child and thanks to his quick wit, said that they were checking radar data and could locate Santa’s route from the North Pole. A Christmas tradition was born and has continued every year to this day. Type noradsanta.org and soon you will find A renewing of faith and a changing of mind Your kids, they will sit there and glow with delight As they watch dear old Santa fly through the night From Glasgow to Moscow, from Bombay to Rome They’ll see Santa speed by on route to your home These guys in the mountain, so clever, so quick They’ve got Santa covered from Shanghai to Brunswick Ringo Starr is on board, to help out the crew And watch the night sky over Britain, it’s true! Ringo’s our hero for adding his cheer He’s a great pal of Santa and all his reindeer No longer will anyone grumble or grouse Now that Santa’s as real as the click of their mouse On the night before Christmas all parents must shout “Three cheers to great NORAD! Good job, you're far out!” Alison van Diggelen is editor of siliconmom.com. She wrote this poem with the help of her son and daughter and welcomes comments. Many thanks to Major Douglas Martin of NORAD for his generous contribution to this story and for sharing Santa photos declassified by NORAD and North Pole officials. If you haven't already found noradsanta.org, then you and your kids are in for a treat! © siliconmom.com
Declassified photo of Santa holding the NORAD shield. Kindly supplied by Major Douglas Martin of NORAD.
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