2023 Turkey Pardoning: Joe Biden Exonerates Liberty, Bell in Thanksgiving Tradition
President Joe Biden pardoned two turkeys at the White House; a cherished Thanksgiving tradition. The event was full of jokes and festivities.
On November 20th, two turkeys from a farm in Minnesota were pardoned at the White House as part of a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition. President Joe Biden, in a light-hearted manner, joked about sparing the birds named Liberty and Bell, in honor of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. He commented on the size of the turkeys before officially pardoning them, ensuring that they will not be cooked up and served for this year's feast.
Biden also reflected on the Thanksgiving holiday, emphasizing the importance of being thankful as a nation and gathering with loved ones. He also paid tribute to former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who passed away the day before the ceremony. The turkeys, Liberty and Bell, were hatched more than four months ago in Minnesota and underwent training to familiarize them with crowds, cameras, and loud noises in preparation for their grand introduction.
The pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey has a long and debated history. Some believe it dates back to 1947 when President Harry S. Truman absolved a turkey for the first time, while others argue that President Abraham Lincoln may have granted reprieve to a turkey in 1863. The first documented turkey pardon was given by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, but the tradition didn't fully catch on until President George H.W. Bush vindicated a turkey in 1989.
The event also served to spotlight the agriculture industry and the efforts of the nation's turkey farmers. After leaving Washington, the pardoned turkeys are set to be housed at the University of Minnesota. The tradition of pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey is a cherished one, bringing together elements of history, humor, and the celebration of the holiday.