Monday, November 23, 2009

Presidential Turkey Pardon

I promise...on Wednesday I’ll post our annual Thanksgiving Quiz so study up…but for today I want to talk about Presidential Turkey Pardons.

Each year the National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board give the president a turkey for Thanksgiving "consumption".

It is rather unclear on how the tradition of pardoning this bird started. Most accounts say the first president to pardon a turkey was Harry Truman in 1947, but there is nothing to back this calm up. There are no pictures, videos or even written accounts.

President Eisenhower ate his birds and in 1963 John Kennedy pardoned one of the three given to him.

But even if Truman and Kennedy didn’t eat a bird here or there, these turkeys were not official pardoned by the president, as is the custom today.

In 1989 President George H W Bush began granting his turkeys an "Offical Presidential Pardon". From 1989 to 2004 the pardoned turkeys were sent to a farm to live out the rest of their natural life. In 2005 George W Bush sent the lucky bird to Disney World to act as the honorary grand marshal of Disney’s Thanksgiving Day Parade a tradition that continues today.

Here is a video of President George W Bush pardoning his turkey.

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