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Do You Love Santa and the Armed Forces? Classic Christmas Poem Gets Military Twist (Exclusive Look!)


"It is a story of patriotism and teamwork and peace."

(Image: The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas)

Since 1955, the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command has been tracking Santa Clause as he travels around the world on Christmas Eve -- and it's done so without system failure. But what would happen if Santa went missing? That's exactly the premise for Michael Keane's new children's book -- "The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas".

(Image: The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas)

Although you might think combining Santa and soldiers in fatigues is the missing verse from "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," Keane said his book includes an important message about the military, patriotism and Christmas.

The basic plot is that NORAD, which is per tradition keeping tabs on St. Nick, loses him. The president then gives the military the green light to go searching for the jolly man all dressed in red, but by the time they find him, he's lost precious time. With no way to deliver all his gifts in time, the military volunteers to distribute the presents.

(Image: The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas)

Watch the trailer for the book:

"It is a story of patriotism and teamwork and peace," Keane said.

How did Keane conceive the idea of writing The Night Santa Got Lost? It was a combination of scenarios. A writer of other military themed books, Keane said he has spent two Christmas' with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said the experience to be away from home in a war zone on Christmas was both sad and lonely but also inspiring.

"Spending Christmas in a war zone is very moving," he said.

Keane combined this idea with a thought that flitted through his head when TSA was receiving grief from citizens for putting grandmas and children through pat downs -- Keane's thought being that Santa would never make it through TSA -- and how NORAD has been "tracking" Santa on Christmas Eve for decades. Fittingly, Keane penned the book on Christmas day last year.

The book follows the similar poetic metre and rhyme scheme as "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

"What I like about [the book] is that it unifies great traditions we have about Santa Clause," Keane said.

Unfamiliar with NORAD's Santa tracking tradition? Here's a brief history. In 1955, an ad in the newspaper taken out by the local department store Sears encouraging kids to call Santa's direct line. The number, instead of directing good little boys and girls to Santa, went to the Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. It has since been a tradition maintained by NORAD. In fact, last year first lady Michelle Obama was helping field calls from children wanting an update on Santa's location when NORAD broke its record. The command saw more than 102,000 calls on Christmas Eve and answered 7,721 emails.

This was the ad run by Sears with the wrong number that directed callers to NORAD. (Image: Wikimedia)

You can begin the countdown with NORAD and its Santa Tracker on Dec. 1. You can purchase the book, here.

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