AS friends and families across the United States sit down on Thursday November 24 and tuck into their Thanksgiving Turkey they will know that in keeping with a tradition that is said to have begun informally by John Fitzgerald Kennedy and enshrined in formal tradition by George H Bush that at least two turkeys will have been pardoned by the incumbent president.
Since 1947, the chairman of the National Turkey Federation has presented a turkey to the President of the United States and in the past few years, President Obama has had a tendency to crack such excruciatingly bad puns whilst pardoning the two birds that his daughters now shun the ceremony-.
While only one can be named the National Thanksgiving Turkey, both lucky birds will be sent to their new home at Virginia Tech where they will be cared for by veterinarians and students of Virginia Tech’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department at “Gobbler’s Rest” in Blacksburg, Virginia.
In this his last ceremony (although he has threatened to carry it on privately just to embarrass his daughters) as he formally pardoned Tater (and reserve Tot) his worst joke was “And it is my great privilege — well, it’s my privilege — actually, let’s just say it’s my job — to grant them clemency this afternoon. As I do, I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom — who met their fate with courage and sacrifice — and proved that they weren’t chicken.”