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President Obama Pardons Two National Turkeys In 2011

Alex Wong/Getty Images

So, it hit me.  President Obama will  be pardoning a turkey tomorrow.  Why I remembered, I don’t know.  It’s an odd thing to do, but it’s been going on since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office and he ate his bird!  That’s NO pardon!!!  I suppose in the turkey world, it’s considered to be an honor to be eaten by the President, but you only hold that honor for a day.  Cheryl Phillips  from tells us the skinny.

The annual ceremony will take place at 10:30am ET on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 in the Rose Garden at the White House. This event marks the 64th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation.

The President of the United States is presented with a live domestic turkey each year and then grants the turkey a presidential pardon and spares it from being slaughtered. Hopefully the 2011 turkeys will have better luck than last year’s pardoned birds. Apple and Cider, both died within a year after being pardoned by Obama.

So, how did tradition start?  Cheryl Phillips tells us:

While the origins are not clear, The Eisenhower Presidential Library has documents in their collection that reveal that President Dwight Eisenhower ate the birds presented to him during his two terms.

The tradition of pardoning a turkey became more formalized in 1989 during the first Thanksgiving of President George H.W. Bush.

While the 2011 turkey’s await their pardon on Wednesday, they are living in luxury. Before the official ceremony begins, the still un-named turkey and its sidekick are staying at the “W” hotel in Washington, DC enjoying treats that include acorns, berries and corn.

Info via:, Cheryl Phillips



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