Back on Dec. 24, 1955, according to official accounts, a phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. However, this call was not from the president or a general. It was a young child in Colorado Springs who was following the directions in an advertisement printed in the local paper. The boy wanted to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus.
The ad said “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center.
On duty, that night was Colonel Harry Shoup, who has come to be known as the “Santa Colonel.” Colonel Shoup received numerous calls that night and rather than hanging up, he had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and reported it to every child who phoned in that night.
Thus began a tradition carried on by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it was formed in 1958. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars, and jet fighters, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as the jolly St. Nick makes his Yuletide journey around the world.
Every year on December 24, fifteen hundred volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from kids of age 1-to- 92 from all over the world. Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site in several languages, over telephone lines, and by e-mail to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.
Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 140,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.
This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and right here on #CITYIMAES www.cimages.me. To follow #SANTA on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the search engine and start tracking.
NORAD Tracks Santa has become a magical and global phenomenon, delighting generations of naughty and nice children everywhere on earth. https://www.noradsanta.org/