Has the “war on Christmas” targeted Santa Claus? If not, why does Santa need fighter jets escorting him on December 24th? And does it feel a little like the militarization of Santa?

Does Santa need a fighter jet escort?

Image: NORAD YouTube Video

The screen grab above is from NORAD’s latest animated preview of Santa’s trip from the North Pole, across Canada to the U.S. In the video we see two fighter jets — complete with wing-mounted weapons — tailing “Big Red One.”

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command is a joint operation between America and Canada. It is designed to monitor the skies and waters of North America. The group has been “tracking” Santa Claus since the 1960s after a newspaper story telling kids where they could call and speak to Santa accidentally posted the number to the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD’s predecessor). The wrong numbers gave NORAD an idea that has turned into one of the longest-running holiday traditions, tracking Santa on Christmas Eve.

The December 24th Santa tracking has become a media event, appearing on thousands on news reports on stations all around the country. The day after Thanksgiving, NORAD uploaded their latest animation promoting the tracking.

Reuters reports NORAD spokesperson, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, saying that the fighter jets have been tied to Santa’s ride for six decades, but this is the first time the fighters have been added to the video.

Canada’s NORAD offices have also posted a video about Santa’s trip. Narrated by a member of the Canadian military, the clip shows the jets scrambling and saying, “our main goal here is to get a radar lock and visual of ‘Big Red One.’”

As you might imagine, there are strong opinions popping up about Santa’s new military escort.  And not everyone is pleased with the military presence in the animated clip.

Speaking to The Boston Globe, child and family psychologist Allen Kanner expressed that the addition of a fighter jet escort to Santa is “completely out of line.” Kanner added, “Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas. They (the Pentagon) are associating this with the military in children’s minds.”

How do you feel about it?

(H/T: The Boston Globe)

Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @stuntbrain

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