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NORAD's Santa tracker catches readers' eye

Children aren’t the only ones interested in Santa’s whereabouts this holiday season. Our coverage of the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Santa tracker, which tracks and secures Santa Claus during his epic Christmas Eve journey, brought out the Scrooge in one reader but warmed the hearts of others.

More on this topic:

NORAD enhances Santa tracking capabilities
Official Norad Santa tracker
Norad Santa tracker on Facebook


The first comment we received about the story questioned the propriety of using tax dollars for the Santa tracker, and believed an ulterior motive was behind the exercise:

Is this really an appropriate use of our tax dollars, to now involve OnStar, mobile devices, etc.? Are we aiding and abetting our kids even further into the electronic age?

A resounding “Bah humbug!” was the response by other readers, who see NORAD’s Santa tracker as a public service. A “Taxpayer” from Racine, Wis., commented that:

I would have to say this is an appropriate use of tax dollars (if any tax dollars are actually used). Private companies and 12,000 volunteers are helping to preserve the innocence of hundreds of thousands of kids. Heck, I bet there are older kids, young adults and "grown ups" (what ever that means) who also will check on Santa’s status.

Another “Taxpayer” from Gulfport, Miss., wrote that:

[Santa tracker] is a wonderful program, reminding us all to lighten up for the holidays. I don't mind that my tax dollars may be helping to support it.

A pair of readers noted that the Santa tracker also has practical applications as a training exercise and stress reliever for the servicemen and women who are part of NORAD.

I have had the pleasure of serving at NORAD/NORTHCOM headquarters, and many of the staff—both military and civilian—volunteer their time to answer phones calls [about Santa tracker]. Even though I have a bit of 'humbug' [in me] it's pretty cool—especially because the rest of NORAD/NORTHCOM’s mission is intense and critical to homeland security.

“M” in Reston, Va., reports an additional value of the Santa tracker this year:

I hear [NORAD is] on guard to determine whether it's really Santa, or if it's the White House party crashers trying to slip across the sky undetected on that night of nights. (Also watch out for balloon boy!)

Posted by Jonathan Byus on Dec 07, 2009 at 9:39 AM


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