That time JFK promised to save Santa from the Soviets

A young girl in Marine City, Mich. overheard her parents talking about Soviet aggression in the Arctic. She didn't entirely understand what they were talking about, but her parents saying the Russians might test nuclear bombs at the North Pole was cause for concern.

What could she do, except warn the President of the United States?

It was 1961, the height of the Cold War. The very next year would prove to be the biggest test of then-President John F. Kennedy's mettle against his Soviet adversaries — the Cuban Missile Crisis, but that was months away.

At that moment, however, 8-year-old Michelle Rochon was worried about Santa Claus and his workshop. And she wanted to make certain President Kennedy would do something about the Soviet aggression toward the world's jolliest elf.

Even if he had to go handle it personally.

"I knew nuclear bombs were bad. And if they were testing them at the North Pole, what was Santa going to do?" said Michelle in a phone interview with CBC News. "I just automatically thought I have to write [the President] and maybe he can do something about it."

Her letter read:

Dear Mr. Kennedy,


Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole because they will kill Santa Claus.

I am 8 years old. I am in the third grade at Holy Cross School.


Yours truly,

Michelle Rochon.

She put the letter in the mailbox, addressed only to "President Kennedy, Washington, D.C."

To her surprise, the President not only received the letter, but published a photo of him reading it. Her letter became nationwide news. And then, a few weeks later, a letter on White House stationery came in the mail for young Michelle.

(JFK Library | YouTube)

In case you don't want to watch the video, this was the President's reply:

Dear Michelle,


I was glad to get your letter about trying to stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole and risking the life of Santa Claus.

I share your concern about the atmospheric testing of the Soviet Union, not only for the North Pole but for countries throughout the world; not only for Santa Claus but for people throughout the world.

However, you must not worry about Santa Claus. I talked with him yesterday and he is fine. He will be making his rounds again this Christmas.



John Kennedy

Getting a reply from the President made her national news again.

Little Michelle was elated.

"All I understood was that he talked to Santa Claus and he was fine and he'd be coming around this Christmas," she said. "President Kennedy said so. So, everything was good."


6 of the most notable pre-M16 military guns

Throughout history, the U.S. Military has used a wide variety of guns to win its battles. Prior to the M16, there were several weapons used across the service throughout some of the most devastating wars the world has ever seen.

Here are some of those weapons:

Keep reading... Show less

How R. Lee Ermey's Hollywood break is an inspiration to us all

While there have been many outstanding actors and celebrities who have raised their right hand, there has never been a veteran who could finger point his way to the top of Hollywood stardom quite like the late great Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey.

Keep reading... Show less

China and the US could end up in a war – here's what would happen

It's unlikely that the U.S.-China trade dispute is going to escalate to a full-scale war any time soon — but it's not impossible. Neither side is inclined to go to war with the other, but a war of that scale is what both plan to fight. All it would take is one bungled crisis, one itchy trigger finger, one malfunctioning automated defense system and the entire region could become a war zone.

Keep reading... Show less

Here are the best military photos for the week of April 20th

The military is always evolving and new things happen every day. With each changes comes a new set of challenges and new opportunities to succeed. Thankfully, there are many talented photographers in the community that capture these struggles and triumphs.

Keep reading... Show less

5 ways troops accidentally 'blue falcon' the rest of the platoon

Every now and then, the pricks known as 'Blue Falcons' come and ruin things for everyone else. They break the rules and make everyone else suffer. They rat out their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. They even damage the reputation of others to make themselves look better.

Keep reading... Show less

Why I'm thrilled Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel

Look, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is really lighting my fires when it comes to their female superheroes.

When Marvel Studios announced they would be bringing Captain Marvel to the big screen, I was thrilled. I was also immediately invested and my expectations shot through the roof.

Keep reading... Show less

This is how American pilots used drop tanks as bombs during WWII

If you pay attention, you might sometimes see long, cigar-shaped pods firmly attached to the undersides of classic fighter and attack aircraft, sometimes with unit markings on them.

Known as "drop tanks," these simple devices extend the range of the aircraft they're hooked up to by carrying extra usable fuel. Back during World War II, however, attack pilots found a secondary use for drop tanks as improvised bombs, used to bombard enemy ground positions.

Keep reading... Show less

The hilarious ways Chinese police are combating jaywalkers

China is so desperate to stop jaywalkers it has turned to spraying them with water.

In Daye, in the central Hubei province, one pedestrian crossing has had a number of bright yellow bollards installed that spray wayward pedestrians' feet with water mist.

Keep reading... Show less