Today In History Spotlights Dec. 24, 1955, NORAD’s Santa Tracking Service Begins

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Today’s History Spotlight

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The event is now a Christmas tradition where the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa Claus as he travels around the world delivering presents to children.

The event began after a printing error in a Sears catalog asking children to call Santa Claus. The number that was printed was the number of Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.

What Happened On This Day – December 24

  • 1951 Libya gains independence from Italy. The North African country had been ruled by Italy since 1912. After independence, it became a constitutional monarchy under King Idris. King Idris was overthrown in a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969.
  • 1914 Christmas Truce begins. A much-studied event in war and peace studies, the Christmas Truce was a brief unofficial ceasefire between British and German troops along the Western Front of World War I. During the truce, soldiers from both sides sang carols, shared food, exchanged gifts and played football (soccer). Subsequent attempts to hold similar ceasefires around Christmas time failed.
  • 1826 Eggnog riots begin at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Also known as the Grog Mutiny, these riots began on Christmas Eve after cadets consumed copious amounts of eggnog made with smuggled whiskey. The riots lasted until December 25.

Births On This Day – December 24

  • 1973 Stephenie Meyer – American author, film producer
  • 1971 Ricky Martin – Puerto Rican/American singer-songwriter, actor
  • 1957 Hamid Karzai – Afghan politician, 12th President of Afghanistan
  • 1868 Emanuel Lasker – German chess player
  • 1166 John, King of England

Deaths On This Day – December 24

  • 2008 Harold Pinter – English playwright, screenwriter, director, actor, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1977 Samael Aun Weor – Colombian author
  • 1965 William M. Branham – American minister
  • 1914 John Muir – Scottish/American environmentalist, author
  • 1524 Vasco da Gama – Portuguese explorer

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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