News / USA

Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkeys

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) pardons the 2011 Thanksgiving Turkey, Liberty, alongside his daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia, on the North Portico of the White House, November 23, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) pardons the 2011 Thanksgiving Turkey, Liberty, alongside his daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia, on the North Portico of the White House, November 23, 2011
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama has carried out one of the more unusual duties of the presidency, the annual pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey.

Just a day before American's celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holiday, Mr. Obama, with his daughters Malia and Sasha, stepped out of the White House and granted a reprieve to two turkeys.

The president smiled and raised his hand above one bird named Liberty, which watched silently as the president continued the tradition.

“You are hereby pardoned,” he said sparking laughter from those in attendance.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday set aside to express gratitude for life’s blessings.  Many Americans spend the day with family and friends, eating a meal that often consists of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, among other foods.

“Tomorrow is one of the best days of the year to be an American," said President Obama. "It is a day to count our blessings, spend time with the ones we love, and enjoy some good food and some great company.  But it is also one of the worst days of the year to be a turkey.”

The modern Thanksgiving tradition in the United States is generally acknowledged to date back to 1621, when British colonists known as pilgrims were believed to have shared a bountiful feast with Native Americans in what is now the northeastern state of Massachusetts.

Historians say the date and events are based partly on fact and partly on stories that have grown over the centuries. It is not known whether turkey was served.

During the Civil War, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed an official day of thanksgiving.  And in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt set Thanksgiving Day for the fourth Thursday in November.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 45 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving.

For decades, an association of turkey growers has presented U.S. presidents with Thanksgiving turkeys.  Many presidents accepted the birds for use in their holiday dinner.  

It is not clear how the lighthearted tradition of the presidential turkey pardon started.  One story claims that Abraham Lincoln pardoned his son’s pet turkey.  But the first so-called "official" presidential pardon came in 1989, when George H.W. Bush spared a bird from the dinner table.

Liberty and another turkey named Peace are expected to live out their days outside Washington at Mount Vernon, the home and farm of the first U.S. president, George Washington.

Mr. Obama and his wife and daughters were later delivering less-fortunate turkeys to a food bank serving the hungry in the Washington area.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid