The Washington Post

Obama to pardon two national turkeys for Thanksgiving

President Obama pardons the Thanksgiving Day turkey named 'Courage' in 2009. (Marvin Joseph/THE WASHINGTON POST)

President Obama will use his executive authority Wednesday to pardon two 19-week-old, 45-pound turkeys a day before America’s annual feast. Liberty, chosen from among more than 100 candidates as the National Thanksgiving Turkey, and its alternate Peace, will be driven to Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, where they will be on display through Jan. 6, the White House announced.

The tradition of pardoning a turkey, and sparing it from being slaughtered, has murky origins, but it was formalized under President George H.W. Bush in 1989.

Obama will make the announcement in the Rose Garden, on the 64th anniversary of the national Thanksgiving presentation. After the holidays, the turkeys, which were raised in Willmar, Minn., will be moved to a custom enclosure at Mount Vernon’s livestock facility.

Two other turkeys are not so lucky. They were dressed and sent to the White House from Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pa., and will be donated to a local food bank.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


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