NORAD tracking Santa for children around the world

 

 

NORAD tracking Santa for children around the world

By Dan Elliott, Associated Press

Update:  COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Volunteers dressed in Christmas hats and military uniforms are taking calls from children around the world who want to know when Santa will be coming.

NORAD Tracks Santa, based at Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base, says it uses infrared sensors from Rudolph’s nose to determine Santa’s location Monday and let callers know when they need to get to bed.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques tweeted that he is helping track Santa from the International Space Station.

Related: Follow Santa on NORAD’s tracker

The military says the program isn’t affected by the U.S. government shutdown since it is run by volunteers and funded by a previously approved defense budget.

The holiday tradition, now in its 63rd year, began after a child mistakenly called a Colorado command that monitored for signs of a nuclear attack, asking to speak to Santa.

The military says the NORAD Tracks Santa won’t be affected by the government shutdown because it is run by volunteers Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado and is funded by the Department of Defense’s budget that was approved earlier this year.

Now in its 63rd year, the Santa tracker became a Christmas Eve tradition after a mistaken phone call to the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1955. CONAD, as it was known, had the serious job of monitoring a far-flung radar network for any sign of a nuclear attack on the United States.

When Col. Harry Shoup picked up the phone that day, he found himself talking not to a military general, but to a child who wanted to speak to Santa Claus. A Colorado Springs newspaper had run an ad inviting kids to call Santa but mistakenly listed the hotline number.

Shoup figured out what had happened and played along. The tradition has since mushroomed into an elaborate operation that attracts tens of thousands of calls every year.

“They’re all really sweet, small voices,” said Madison Hill, a volunteer who helped answer the phones in two previous years.

“I had a little girl tell me good night instead of goodbye,” she said. “It’s really sweet.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command — a joint U.S.-Canadian operation based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that protects the skies over both countries — has taken over the Santa tracker since the tradition started. The military command center embraced and expanded the Santa-tracking mission and has been rewarded with a bounty of goodwill and good publicity.

Last year, NORAD Tracks Santa drew 126,000 phone calls, 18 million website hits, 1.8 million followers on Facebook and 179,000 more on Twitter.

It takes 160 phones to handle the calls that pour in. New volunteers get a playbook that briefs them on the questions kids might ask. Big screens on the walls show a Santa icon making blistering progress around the globe. U.S. and Canadian officers do live TV interviews from the phone rooms.

“It really gets you into the Christmas spirit,” said Hill, a student at Mississippi State University who got involved through Air Force family members stationed in Colorado Springs.

“There are Christmas carols in the background, everyone’s very friendly, happy to be there,” she said.

One year, she took a call from a boy who began reading a very long Christmas list. “I remember having to cut him off after the 10th present or so,” she said, explaining to him that she had to take calls from other children.

A girl told Hill she wanted to warn Santa not to bump into a bell hanging on her door. “I think she wanted Santa to be quiet and not wake her up,” Hill said.

Sometimes the volunteers have to handle the unexpected. In 2012, a child from Newtown, Connecticut, asked if Santa could bring extra toys for families who lost children in the mass shooting that year at Sandy Hook Elementary.

“If I can get ahold of him, I’ll try to get the message to him,” replied the volunteer, Sara Berghoff.

NORAD’s commander, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, will also take a turn answering the phones Monday.

“This is my first NORAD Tracks Santa,” said O’Shaughnessy, who took command in May. “I’m really excited.”

O’Shaughnessy was even asked about the program during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in April to confirm him as NORAD chief.

“I assume this committee can count on your commitment to continue that venerable tradition,” Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton deadpanned.

“Yes sir, especially since my son Sam would want to see that as well,” O’Shaughnessy replied.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2018!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Veterans and all Americans that support their sacrifice and service in keeping us free!

By: George Washington, President of The United States of America

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789.

 

 

Veterans Day Message – 2018

 

Veterans Day Message – 2018

from

MG Paul E. Vallely. US Army (Ret.)

Chairman, Stand Up America US Foundation

On the 11th hour ofct. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson  the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect and proclaimed the day should be“filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.” At 11am, there was a brief suspension of business activities so that parades and public meetings could place.

Today, our Nation comes together to honor our veterans and commemorate the legacy of profound service and sacrifice they have upheld in pursuit of a more perfect Union. Through their steadfast defense of America’s ideals, our service members have ensured our country stands strong and that these ideals and virtues still shine throughout America. 

Nations around the world seek freedomWknow the blessings of freedom. As we offer our sincere appreciation and respect to our veterans, to their families, to those who are still in harm’s way, and to those we have laid to rest, let us dedicate ourselves to keep America strong.

Our men and women in uniform are bearers of a proud military tradition that has been dutifully passed forward—from generation to generation—for more than two centuries. In times of war and peace, our veterans have served with courage and distinction in the face of tremendous adversity, demonstrating an unfaltering commitment to America and our people. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the country they loved including our son, Scott VallelyThe selflessness of our service members is unmatched, and they remind us that there are few things more fundamentally American than doing our utmost to make a difference in the lives of others and secure our great country.

Just as our veterans stood watch and stand watch today on freedom’s frontier and along our borders, so have they safeguarded the prosperity of Americans in our neighborhoods, our businesses, and our homes. It is our moral obligation to ensure that they receive our support, despite the current gutting of our Armed Forces, for as long as they live as proud veterans of the United States Armed Forces. On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the veterans, to the fallen, and to their families. To honor their contributions to America, let us strive with renewed determination to keep the promises we have made to all who have answered our country’s call. As we fulfill our obligations to them, we keep faith with the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the Union, and with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which our Republic was founded.

We CALL upon every member of federal, state and local government, legislative, judicial, law enforcement and military, who have taken an oath to protect and defend the ConstitutionalRepublic from all enemies, foreign and domestic, to act upon those oaths for the stated purpose of restoring the Constitutional Republic.

We CALL upon ALL veterans and veteran organizations in America, who still believe in their oath to protect and defend, to unite with us at once – in this Declaration to maintain the Constitutional Republic.

We CALL for ALL citizens who still desire freedom and liberty, to stand with us and carry our demands to right the wrongs against our nation in the preservation of freedom, liberty, justice and the rule of law.

GOD BLESS All Of YOU AND GOD BLESS OUR NATION.