Happy Thanksgiving, HollywoodLifers! Two special people are having the best day ever: Tater and Tot, the two turkeys President Obama is officially pardoning at the White House on November 23 during his last annual ceremony. Click through to learn more about the tradition!
1. The turkey pardon originates with Abraham Lincoln
The first lucky turkey was pardoned at the White House by Honest Abe in 1863, when he literally saved the bird from being killed for the sake of his son, Tad. This actually happened on Christmas that year. Apparently a live turkey had been brought home for dinner, but Tad was so upset, that President Lincoln stopped the poor bird from being killed. That was a close one!
2. The first official Presidential Turkey Pardon was done by President John F. Kennedy in 1963
JFK pardoned a 55lb. turkey on November 19, 163 at the White House in an official ceremony, as a fun and light-hearted event. Unfortunately, the pardon happened just days before his shocking assassination on November 22, 1963.
3. President George H.W. Bush turned the Presidential Turkey Pardon into an annual tradition
Presidents are actually presented with a live turkey every Thanksgiving for their dinner, which is kinda icky to think about. But President Bush 41 stopped that in its tracks in 1989, when he officially “pardoned” the turkey from being executed. Good for him!
“Not this guy — he’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here,” he said, and the pardoned turkey went to live a happy life on a farm in Herndon, Virginia.
4. The president jokingly decides which one of two turkeys will be pardoned
No, the president isn’t sending on turkey off to his death for the sake of a goofy tradition. While the White House amps up the dramatics of the annual ceremony, asking people to cast their ballots for the tough decision, both turkeys are pardoned. Last year, President Obama pardoned two guys named Honest, and Abe; this year, he’s granting freedom to good ‘ol Tater and Tot!
5. President Obama is sending Tater and Tot to college
Seriously! The pardoned turkeys will be living at the “Gobblers Nest” at Virginia Tech University, where visitors can observe them, and learn about the college’s animal and veterinary programs.
HollywoodLifers, re you watching the president’s last turkey pardon? Tell us in the comments!