First Lady Michelle Obama spent about 40 minutes on Christmas Eve with the NORAD team answering chidren's questions about Santa's current location.
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Michelle Obama helps kids track Santa Claus
HONOLULU, AFP — First Lady Michelle Obama assisted the US military in tracking Santa Claus on his gift-bearing mission across the globe, in a popular Christmas Eve tradition begun more than half a century ago.
While on a 10-day vacation in Hawaii with her president husband and their two daughters, Obama fielded telephone calls for 40 minutes from children seeking information from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on Santa and his reindeer.
The US and Canadian defense command has set up a telephone line – and since 1998 an official "Santa Tracker" on its website (www.noradsanta.org) in seven languages – to find the current location and upcoming stops for Saint Nicholas.
Some of the hundreds of thousands of children placing calls on Friday were surprised to hear such a familiar voice on the other end.
"Hello, this is First Lady Michelle Obama with NORAD Tracks Santa. How may I help you?" was her stock response, according to NORAD.
Obama "assured the children that NORAD is tracking Santa's progress closely and that his journey was going well this Christmas Eve," it added in a statement.
"I received calls from some very excited kids tonight wanting to know where Santa is and when they could expect him at their house. I told them he would arrive once they went to sleep," Obama said.
One of the children even asked Michelle Obama if she could see Rudolph, whose "nose so bright" steers Santa on his merry way, NORAD said.
"All right, I'm looking at the radar," she told another little girl named Juliana. "It's a big, huge radar – and it looks like Santa is flying over Croatia, a part of Europe, right now.
"But they can tell from this radar that – it looks like all nine reindeer are pulling the sleigh tonight, including Rudolph. And it looks like the sleigh is extremely full. So that's pretty exciting.... Have you been good this year?"
NORAD's Santa tracking tradition dates back to 1955, when a Colorado newspaper advertisement printed a phone number to connect children with the cheerful Christmas icon that mistakenly directed them to NORAD's hotline.
To avoid disappointing the little ones, NORAD's director of operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, ordered his staff to check the radar to see where Santa might be and update the children on his location.
track – to follow the course of a moving object such as a ship, aircraft or animal using special equipment ติดตาม, ตามรอย
assist – to help ช่วย
bear – to carry something ถือ
mission – an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do ภาระกิจ หน้าที่
the globe – the world โลก
popular – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
Christmas Eve – the day before Christmas (December 24)
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
century – a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
vacation – holiday; a period of time spent travelling or resting away from home ลาพักผ่อน, ลาพักร้อน
field – to receive and deal with questions or comments ตอบ
aerospace – the industry of building aircraft, vehicles and equipment to be sent into space; the atmosphere of the Earth and the space beyond it เกี่ยวกับอวกาศหรือยานอวกาศ
defense – protecting somebody/something from attack การป้องกัน, การต้าน, การ พิทักษ์
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
location – where someone or something is ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
upcoming – happening soon; available soon ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา
familiar – well known to you, or easily recognised by you คุ้นเคย
stock – (of an answer, comment, excuse, etc.) often used because it is easy and convenient, but that is not very original
assure – to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
steer – to control the direction in which something or someone moves นำทาง
merry – happy and cheerful รื่นเริง, ร่าเริง, สนุกสนาน
radar – a system that uses radio waves to find the position and movement of objects, for example planes and ships, when they cannot be seen เรดาร์, อุปกรณ์ตรวจจับวัตถุเคลื่อนที่
sleigh – a vehicle that slides over snow, especially one pulled by horses รถลากเลื่อนบนหิมะ
icon – someone who is very famous and who people think represents a particular idea (in this case, Santa Claus) ดาราหรือบุคคลผู้มีชื่อเสียงที่เป็นตัวแทนของสิ่งใดสิ่งหนึ่ง
hotline – a telephone number that people can call for information โทรศัพท์สายตรงที่จัดไว้สำหรับเหตุเร่งด่วนหรือเฉพาะเรื่อง
avoid – to stay away from a place; to try to prevent something from happening หลีกเลี่ยง
disappoint – to fail to satisfy someone or their hopes, desires, etc.; to cause someone to feel unhappy ทำให้ผิดหวัง
staff – all the workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
update – to get or give the most recent information or news about something ให้ข้อมูลใหม่ๆ
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