Friday, December 09, 2005

Tracking Santa for Fifty Years

This year, NORAD marks 50 years of tracking and escorting Santa as he delivers presents to children around the globe on Christmas Eve.

It's amazing to think that this gentle tradition was born of a simple newspaper typo and a military man with a heart big enough to not disappoint the kids who called as a result of it.

I remember as a child listening to these updates on CBC Radio on Christmas Eve. It made it oh, so real. We would tremble with excitement at the crackling reports from those military men. It was a trillion times more exciting because we lived in Newfoundland - officially the first stop on Santa's tour. NORAD says so! Our parents must have blessed them - we'd be in bed by 9 pm, terrified that if he saw us, he'd leave without leaving any presents behind. (Every kid knows that's the rule - although he has been known to make exceptions.)

It's hard to explain to kids today what exactly it meant to us, back in those Cold War days when NORAD was as much a part of a kid's vocabulary as - well, as Santa Claus.

Today, children can follow along with Santa in English, Espanol, Francais, Italiano, Deutsch. and Japanese through the NORAD Tracks Santa 2005 website (you'll need to have the latest Flash player to view it - and the fact that the word "English" is illustrated with an American flag makes me want to claw my eyes out, but let's try to be gracious). Amazing how the technology has changed, but the willingness of children to believe, and the efforts that the toughest men and women will go to to help them do it, hasn't, not a bit.



Blogger Yearning 2 B said...

I remember listening to it on the radio too!

Received your beautiful Christmas card in the mail. Thanks so much! Yours is on the way, too! Have a blessed holiday season!

3:48 p.m.  

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