Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Dec. 24, the 358th day of 2013. There are seven days left in the year. We’ll start Christmas Eve in the mid-20s, but should warm up into the lower 50s this afternoon under a sunny sky. Temperatures overnight will be in the lower 30s.
When 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 to ask whether Santa Claus really existed, she couldn’t have imagined that her simple question would receive an answer that’s still resonant more than a century later.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in THE SUN it's so."
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
VIRGINIA O'HANLON. "115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong.
They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.
They do not believe except what they see.
They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.
All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little.
In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measure by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!
It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS.
There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!
You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?
Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus.
The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.
Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there.
Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world, which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart.
Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.
Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Merry Christmas and the best of the season from KWTX and KWTX.com!
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 24, 1913, 73 people, most of them children, died in a crush of panic after someone falsely called out "Fire!" during a Christmas party for striking miners and their families at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Mich.
On This Date:
In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama - who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India - died in Cochin, India.
In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent.
In 1851, fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.
In 1863, English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, author of "Vanity Fair," died in London at age 52.
In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Tenn., called the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1871, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt.
In 1906, Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to transmit the human voice (his own) as well as music over radio, from Brant Rock, Mass.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.
In 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," the first opera written specifically for television, was first broadcast by NBC-TV.
In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.
In 1980, Americans remembered the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds - one second for each day of captivity.
In 1993, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who blended Christian and psychiatric principles into a message of "positive thinking," died in Pawling, N.Y., at age 95.
Ten years ago:
A roadside bomb exploded north of Baghdad, killing three U.S. soldiers in the deadliest attack on Americans to that time following Saddam Hussein's capture. Air France canceled several flights to the United States after U.S. officials passed on what were termed "credible" security threats.
Five years ago:
A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit shot his way into the Covina, Calif., home of his former in-laws and set it on fire, killing nine people (the attacker, identified as Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, committed suicide the next day). The Federal Reserve granted a request by the financing arm of General Motors to tap the government's $700 billion rescue fund, bolstering GM's ability to survive. Army Capt. Moussa Camara, the leader of a coup in Guinea, entered the country's capital, hours after saying his group would hold power until elections in two years. Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter died in London at age 78.
One year ago:
An Afghan policewoman walked into a high-security compound in Kabul and killed an American contractor, the first such shooting by a woman in a spate of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies. An ex-con gunned down two firefighters in Webster, N.Y., after luring them to his suburban Rochester neighborhood by setting a car and a house ablaze, then took shots at police and committed suicide while several homes burned. Death claimed actors Charles Durning, 89, and Jack Klugman, 90.
Songwriter-bandleader Dave Bartholomew is 93. Author Mary Higgins Clark is 86. Federal health official Anthony S. Fauci is 73. Recording company executive Mike Curb is 69. Rock singer-musician Lemmy (Motorhead) is 68. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is 67. Actor Grand L. Bush is 58. Actor Clarence Gilyard is 58. Actress Stephanie Hodge is 57. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai is 56. Rock musician Ian Burden (The Human League) is 56. Actor Anil Kapoor is 54. Actor Wade Williams is 52. Designer Kate Spade is 51. Rock singer Mary Ramsey (10,000 Maniacs) is 50. Actor Mark Valley is 49. Actor Diedrich Bader is 47. Actor Amaury Nolasco is 43. Singer Ricky Martin is 42. Author Stephenie Meyer is 40. "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest is 39. Actor Michael Raymond-James (TV: "Once Upon a Time") is 36. Rock singer Louis Tomlinson (One Direction) is 22.
Thought for Today:
"Christmas is the day that holds all time together." - Alexander Smith, Scottish poet and essayist (1830-1867).