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JFK to Girl Afraid for Santa: 'I Talked With Him... He is Fine'

The former president told a girl during the Cold War that Russian nukes won't harm St. Nick
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2018 4:15 PM CST
This is a 1963 portrait of US President John F. Kennedy.   (AP Photo/ File)

(Newser) – A little girl who feared for the safety of Santa Claus amid reports of Russian nuclear testing in the North Pole voiced her concern all the way to President Kennedy in 1961 and, astonishingly, got a personal response that would make her a viral sensation of her day. Per The Week, Michelle Rochon was 8 years old during the Cold War and heard about the Soviets' testing and worried about the potential impact on Christmas. "Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole because they will kill Santa Claus," Rochon wrote. Weeks later, the little girl awoke to find herself at the center America's attention after the White House publicized the letter and footage of JFK reading it.

As the media attention began to fade away, Rochon received yet another letter among the many that kept coming her way. Only this one was special and would go down in history. "I share your concern," read the letter from, you guessed it, JFK. "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." Rochon recently recounted the sequence of events to CBC and noted that she had no clue what atmospheric testing meant, but that she felt relief. "All I understood was that he talked to Santa Claus and he was fine," she recalled. (Meanwhile, NORAD's annual Santa Tracker will officially not be affected by the government shutdown.)

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