Each year, the president of the United States pardons some lucky turkeys ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The tradition dates all the way back to 1863 with Abraham Lincoln. It wasn’t called a pardon until John F. Kennedy referred to it as such during his administration. While the event would happen sometime in every presidency, it didn’t become an annual event until Ronald Reagan was president. He also began the tradition of sending pardoned turkeys to special farms.
On Tuesday, this year’s turkeys, Bread and Butter, will receive the presidential pardon at a ceremony in the Rose Garden.
Bread and Butter are from North Carolina. The two turkeys were raised in a barn as part of the “presidential flock.” That means they get the star treatment, resting in a hotel room in the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC, before heading to the White House.
After the ceremony in the Rose Garden, Bread and Butter will be taken to Gobblers Rest on the Virginia Tech campus. There, they’ll live out their days with other pardoned turkeys from the Obama and Trump administrations. Veterinary students at the school provide them with the best care possible. Those lucky turkeys will never have to worry about ending up on someone’s holiday plate.
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