Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:43 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:43:48 GMT
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For the third consecutive year, First Lady Michelle Obama took time from her holiday vacation in Kailua to deliver cheer to children across America. She personally answered phone calls on Santa's journey as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Answering the telephone with, "Hello, this is First Lady Michelle Obama with NORAD Tracks Santa. How may I help you?" Mrs. Obama fielded calls from Hawaii to surprised children calling in to the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center.
Mrs. Obama answered children's questions about Santa's exact location using NORAD's global Santa Tracker and let the children know when to expect Santa to visit their homes. She assured them all that NORAD was tracking Santa's progress closely, and his journey was going well this Christmas Eve.
"This is such a wonderful holiday tradition, and I'm always so thrilled to be a part of it. I love hearing the excitement and anticipation in the children's voices as they learn Santa's location - that's what brings the magic of this night to life for all of us."
The NORAD Tracks Santa program began in 1955 after a phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The call was from a local youngster who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement. The commander on duty who answered the phone that night gave the child the information requested - the whereabouts of Santa. This began the tradition of tracking Santa, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958.
The NORAD Tracks Santa program has grown immensely since first presented on the Internet in 1998. The website receives millions of unique visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. In addition, a live Operations Center is occupied for 23 hours with more than 1,200 volunteers each year who receive hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails from families around the world.