The History Of The US Presidential Turkey Pardon ~
The History Of The US Presidential Turkey Pardon can be traced clear back to 1863 when Abraham Lincoln spared a turkey destined for the Presidential Thanksgiving table. It’s said his son, Tad, had befriended the bird. The tradition of gifting the President’s Thanksgiving table with a turkey dates back to well into the 19th century.
Many believe the custom of the Presidential Pardon was started by President Harry Truman over 70 years ago. President Truman was the first president to receive a turkey on behalf of the poultry industry as a whole, where in years past, presidents had been gifted Thanksgiving turkeys from individual farms. However, in 1947 Truman’s government had launched a campaign to encourage people to conserve supplies, such as poultry and eggs, so that they could be sent to post-war Europe. The idea was that people should forego these foods each week on Thursdays. However, that year Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day all fell on a Thursday, thus causing outrage from the US citizens. As a form of protest, poultry farmers sent crates of hens to President Truman as part of the “Hens for Harry” protest campaign.
There are several instances throughout history where a US President has pardoned a turkey. In fact, President John F Kennedy gave an unofficial pardoning just days before his assassination in 1963. Presidents Nixon, Carter and Regan were all said to have also spared the lives of some very fortunate turkeys by sending them to live out their days on nearby farms.
It wasn’t until 1989 and under George H W Bush that the yearly pardoning became an “official” tradition. While animal-rights activists protested nearby, the former president “pardoned” a turkey, sparing it’s life and beginning the yearly tradition of the “Official” Presidential Turkey Pardon.
This year, voters were asked to vote as to which of two turkeys would receive the traditional Presidential Pardon. “Wishbone” and “Drumstick” arrived over the weekend and stayed in a posh room at the Willard Intercontinental hotel while they awaited their fate. Their luxurious stay was paid for by the National Turkey Federation. It was announced on Tuesday that “Drumstick” was the winner with 60% of the vote. President Trump “officially” pardoned the 36 pound turkey in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday afternoon. In a statement by the White House, it’s said that “After the pardoning, Drumstick and Wishbone will join last year’s turkeys, Tater and Tot, at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” exhibit.”
We wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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