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NORAD to celebrate 50th Anniversary

3/20/2008 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating a milestone this year, 50 years of a rich and colorful history between two countries that formally acknowledged a mutual commitment to defend their citizens from air attacks.

Although NORAD originally stood up at Ent Air Force Base, Colo., on Sept 12, 1957, the official agreement between the Canadian and U.S. governments that created the command wasn't signed until May 12, 1958.

NORAD officials say the command is perhaps one of the best examples of how two countries have worked closely together for so long in a positive, mutually-beneficial relationship that continues today.

The longstanding, successful relationship has evolved over the past 50 years to remain as relevant today during these times of terrorist threats as it was half a century ago during the Cold War. NORAD remains a powerful symbol of two countries working together to defend the citizens of both countries from those who would harm us, they said.

"The success of NORAD is due to the thousands of men and women over the past 50 years who dedicated themselves to the service of defending Canada and the United States," said Mike Perini, NORAD public affairs director.

"Today, the men and women of NORAD are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days week, 365 days a year guarding the things we value most: our loved ones, our liberties and our peace of mind," he said.

This anniversary is an occasion to reflect on the history of the command and to recognize its evolution in response to new and changing threats and emerging technologies. It is also an opportunity to honor the strong bi-national relationship, the valor of the men and women who serve, and the important role of the many partners, including local communities, who support homeland defense, officials said.

NORAD is planning months of activities throughout the year to celebrate this milestone. Some of the activities include:

· A gala Golden Jubilee Ball May 12 in Colorado Springs, Colo.;

· Aircraft and displays at major air shows across Canada and the United States;

· A public essay contest. The winner will have an opportunity to attend the Golden Jubilee Ball and tour NORAD facilities at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo.

· A photo contest for people who have served or who currently serve with NORAD. Their dependents also may submit photos. This winner also will have an opportunity to attend the Golden Jubilee Ball and tour NORAD facilities at Cheyenne Mountain.

Visit NORAD's 50th Anniversary Web site for more information on plans and activities

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