Thanksgiving: The first White House turkey pardon was overseen by President John F. Kennedy in 1963
In the spirit of a cherished Thanksgiving tradition, President Joe Biden will oversee the pardon of two turkeys named Liberty and Bell at the White House on Monday to ensure their exemption from this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
The birds, which came from a farm in Minnesota, were unveiled at a press conference at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington on Sunday, drawing a crowd and camera flashes.
Liberty and Bell, part of the “Presidential Flock” created more than four months ago in Willmar, Minn., were trained to adjust to crowds, cameras, music and loud noises before their public introduction. Named to pay homage to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the turkeys moved into a cozy double-bed suite after their grand entrance.
In addition to the light-hearted atmosphere, the event also highlighted the efforts of the agriculture industry and turkey farmers, as emphasized by NTF President and Jennie-O Turkey Store President Steve Lyken. The pardoned turkey will be housed at the University of Minnesota after leaving Washington.
Reflecting on the significance of the event, Lyken said, “This event is certainly an opportunity for us to recognize the really hard work of turkey farmers and the men and women in animal agriculture and the turkey industry, and this is no exception. “
The historical origins of the tradition of pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey are debated. Some attribute it to President Harry S. Truman in 1947, while others speculate that President Abraham Lincoln may have relieved a turkey in 1863, although the White House considers this story a legend. The first documented turkey pardon was by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, which gained widespread popularity in 1989 when President George H.W.
Last year, Biden continued the tradition with humor and apology for a turkey named Chocolate and Chip.