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Presidential Turkey Pardon

Alex Wong, Getty Images

There are 23 very fortunate turkeys in America that have been guaranteed they will never be eaten. Why, you ask? Because they have been pardoned by the President of the United States.

The White House has been receiving turkeys around Thanksgiving for many years, but only one turkey is selected to be pardoned each year. There are stories of presidents pardoning turkeys from the fate of the dinner table dating all the way back to Lincoln’s presidency.

The pardoning of the turkey occurs after the annual receiving ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. The ceremony is more of a photo op than anything, but it has become quite the tradition over the years.

After the ceremony takes place, the pardoned turkey is sent to a farm where it will live and do whatever turkeys do there.

President George H.W. Bush was the first to officially pardon a turkey, although others had been pardoning turkeys for years.

President Obama admitted that if it weren’t for his two daughters, he would have come close to having the 2009 turkey on the dinner table for Thanksgiving. He also said that Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson actually ate their turkeys rather than pardoning them. Fortunately for the 2013 turkey, President Obama pardoned it and sent it on its way to a farm for it to live happily.

If you’re interested seeing the ceremony, you can watch the 2010 ceremony here:

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