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Although Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, along with First Ladies Thelma “Pat” Nixon and Rosalynn Carter, pardoned Thanksgiving turkeys, the modern turkey pardon did not become an annual tradition until the George H.W. Bush administration.

In 1989, President Bush quipped: “But let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy—he’s presented a Presidential pardon as of right now—and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.” It has been an annual tradition ever since.

Click here to learn more about the presidential turkey pardon.

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