War and defense and national security do not stop for a holiday, even Christmas. It's a year-long, around-the-clock prospect, protecting a nation is. I find that disheartening, but then I learned that in the midst of all of the ominous work it does, NORAD tracks Santa Claus every year, and millions of kids around the world check in to find the big elf's coordinates on Google Earth.
NORAD maintains a website for Santa trackers, with games, student videos from around the world, a countdown clock and information about Santa and NORAD. The site links to organizations that help veterans, too, so a kid can play a game and then learn something about wounded soldiers or military personnel who wouldn't mind receiving a card now and then.
In the big picture, tracking Santa may seem like just a band-aid, but band-aids are good things. We could use more of them, I think, and so I've written my weekly column about NORAD's Santa tracking and the man who started it all, Col. Shoup. You can read it here.