For decades U.S. presidents have been presented with Thanksgiving turkeys, and – at least in recent history – those turkeys have received a presidential “pardon,” sparing them from the dinner table. A look at some of history’s most famous turkeys.
Charlie, Caroline Kennedy’s pet Welsh terrier, inspects a turkey presented to President John F. Kennedy after a traditional Thanksgiving week ceremony at the White House. President Kennedy pardoned the bird, sending it back to the farm. Charlie had the run of the grounds during the ceremony.
President Bill Clinton and nine-year-old Shawn Arbogast, of Harrisonburg, Va., look over Tom, a 50-pound turkey presented to the president in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C. After the ceremony, the president pardoned Tom who took up residence at the Flying Pan Park in Chantilly, VA.
President George W. Bush, standing with Jim Stocam, left, and Tom Fix, of Carthage, Mo., pets Stars the national Thanksgiving turkey during a ceremony pardoning the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House. Stars, who was raised by Stocam and Fix, was given to Kidwell Farm in Virginia.
Pilgrim Mickey Mouse at Ten Star Ranch in Dubois, Ind., unveiled two turkeys that received presidential pardons that year. Those turkeys went on to become the grand marshals of the Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Day Parade in Florida. The birds were transported aboard a United Airlines flight that was renamed to “Turkey One” to mark the occasion.
President Barack Obama pets Courage the turkey on the North Portico of the White House in Washington. After receiving its pardon, the famous fowl went to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estates in Virginia. National Turkey Federation Chairman Walter Pelletier, his wife Elizabeth Pelletier, and Sasha and Malia Obama look on.