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18 July, 2024
 
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Turkey pardoning is as American as apple pie

President Joe Biden spent his birthday pardoning two turkeys named Liberty and Bell

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Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1947, President Joe Biden celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday by pardoning two turkeys, Liberty and Bell. The National Turkey Federation, representing turkey farmers and producers, introduced the National Thanksgiving Turkey tradition to President Harry Truman.

The male turkeys, hatched in July in Willmar, Minnesota, underwent special preparations, including exposure to various sounds and music, to ready them for the event, according to Steve Lykken, chairman of the National Turkey Federation and president of the Jennie-O Turkey Store.

“They listened to all kinds of music to get ready for the crowds and people along the way. I can confirm they are, in fact, Swifties, and they do enjoy some Prince,” Lykken told the Associated Press.

Turkey pardoning is a cherished American tradition that aligns with the Thanksgiving festivities across the nation. U.S. Presidents, following the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, have made an annual tradition of sparing a turkey from the Thanksgiving table.

According to the White House, the clemency tradition dates back to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln was said to have pardoned a turkey. However, poultry dealers had been sending birds to the White House for years before that, though none were officially excused from Thanksgiving tables. Harry S. Truman is often credited with initiating the tradition, although his library and museum staff dispute this claim. President Ronald Reagan is recognized for formalizing the turkey pardoning as an official act.

[Information sourced from People Magazine]

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