WASHINGTON, DC: On Monday, November 20, Liberty and Bell participated in an annual White House custom of pardoning turkeys before Thanksgiving and the occasion coincided with President Joe Biden’s 81st birthday.
According to tradition, the president pardons the birds and prevents them from being served as holiday food. After the ceremony, Liberty and Bell will be returned to their home state and cared for by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences.
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President Joe Biden roasted Liberty and Bell on the South Lawn of the White House
In a brief break from the global challenges facing his administration, Joe Biden on Monday presided over the White House’s annual Thanksgiving custom of pardoning the turkey, releasing Liberty, a 42.5-pound (1,925 kg) bird. , and Bell, a 42.1 pound (19 kg) bird. ) bird.
The president experimented with Liberty and Bell on the South Lawn of the White House, but only in a symbolic sense. This annual event offers a plethora of poultry jokes and an opportunity to express gratitude as the holiday season approaches, as reported by CNN.
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“These birds have a new appreciation for the word ‘Let Liberty Ring,'” Biden told a group of local schoolchildren, children of his staff and Cabinet members.
He added, “That’s a big bird, man. I’m impressed,” watching a turkey float across a table, adding, “I hereby forgive Liberty and Bell. Congratulations, birds.”
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Afterward, the president said, “By the way, it’s my birthday today,” adding, “I just want you to know that it’s hard being 60.” Difficult.
He added that it has been customary for more than 70 years to present a national Thanksgiving turkey at the White House. Before granting the pardons, Biden noted that Liberty and Bell were named Liberty Bell in Philadelphia even though they were born in Minnesota, according to the Associated Press.
In 2022, Biden pardoned two more turkeys – Chocolate and Chip.
Liberty and Bell can now spread their wings without fear. They joined a list of turkeys pardoned by the White House for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Here’s a look back at some of the best moments from turkey pardons over the years. pic.twitter.com/vdjRqZRJHV
– Associated Press (@AP) November 20, 2023
History of the White House Turkey Pardoning Tradition
There have long been rumors about pardoning turkeys dating back to the days of Abraham Lincoln, who was supposedly the first president to spare a turkey, according to White House records, but it happened at Christmas and was not repeated for decades.
According to family history, Lincoln’s son begged his father to save a pet bird intended to be served for Thanksgiving.
Additionally, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, presidents frequently received turkeys as Christmas gifts, and most ended up on the dinner table.
In the 1920s, a Texas turkey that Woodrow Wilson had received in a container designed like the White House got into a fight with a Kentucky turkey outside the White House, making the delivery rivalry national news.
The White House Historical Association, however, says the Kentucky bird triumphed.
Jared Kushner (left) and Ivanka Trump attend the turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House (Getty Images)
John F. Kennedy granted the first recorded pardon to a turkey in 1963, but it was not an immediate success. In 1973, former First Lady Patricia Nixon also spared the life of a turkey sent to the White House.
George HW Bush reinstated the practice of pardoning turkeys in 1989 and it has since become a custom during the White House holiday season.
That year, Bush promised an animal rights activist gathered nearby that the turkey sent to him would not die young, according to NBC Philadephia.
He said, “Let me assure you and this fine turkey that he will not end up on anyone’s table, not this guy – he has already received a presidential pardon,” and let the turkey live on a children’s farm. .
What happened to the turkeys pardoned by previous US presidents?
After the turkey pardoning ceremony, the birds are placed in new homes on farms across the country. According to the White House Historical Association, several farms ended up with turkeys that received unofficial pardons from presidents such as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon.
According to White House records, Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia, received the turkey pardon from President Bush, according to The US Sun.
Two turkeys named Abe and Honest that Barack Obama pardoned were delivered to a farm in Morven Park, Virginia. In recent years, large numbers of pardoned turkeys have ended up at Gobbler’s Rest, a facility affiliated with Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Turkeys pardoned by US presidents usually end up on farms (Getty Images)
Virginia Tech also received turkeys pardoned by Obama in 2016 and those pardoned by Donald Trump in 2017 and 2019.
A few turkeys are heading to Disneyland and Disneyworld. Additionally, Iowa State University and North Carolina State University received the birds from the previous two Thanksgivings.
Even though turkeys get a second chance at life, sometimes the story doesn’t end well. Although George Washington’s historic residence, Mount Vernon, was home to large numbers of turkeys until 2013, many of them died shortly after being pardoned.
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