Why Do Presidents Pardon Turkeys At Thanksgiving?

Now’s the time to schedule your carpet, tile, or upholstery cleaning for Thanksgiving guests.

While nearly 50 million turkeys will end up on our dinner tables this Thursday, for two very lucky turkeys, Thanksgiving means freedom — as well as a few minutes in the national spotlight.

Historians trace the first White House turkey pardon to the 1860’s when Abraham Lincoln granted a pardon to a pet turkey belonging to his youngest son Tad. Moments before the bird was to be executed as part of a holiday meal, Tad barged into a cabinet meeting and between sobs told his dad, “he’s a good turkey, and I don’t want him killed!” Lincoln then took out a card, and on it wrote an order of reprieve — thus saving the turkey’s life.

But turning the act of “pardoning” a turkey into an annual White House tradition actually took quite some time to take hold. During Dwight Eisenhower’s first year in office, the National Turkey Federation began the tradition of presenting the president with a turkey each Thanksgiving. But instead of pardoning the turkey, Dwight Eisenhower merely ate the bird — as well as every single turkey presented to him during both terms in office. 

Finally, in 1989, during George H.W. Bush’s first Thanksgiving in office, the modern-day presidential turkey pardon tradition finally took hold. When presented with a potential oven roaster, President Bush responded, “He will not end up on anyone’s dinner table — not this guy,” Bush said. “He’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”

The Presidential turkey pardon is now a staple of the holiday season — complete with a Rose Garden press ceremony. 

Tru-Clean Surface Care wishes you and your family a bountiful Thanksgiving, a happy holiday season and a healthy, prosperous New Year.

Tru-Clean Surface Care is a family-owned environmentally responsible carpet, tile and upholstery cleaning company serving all of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Lee, Collier & Charlotte County.

For more information on our services or to schedule an after Thanksgiving or holiday cleaning please visit us online at www.trucleansurfacecare.com or “call us on the carpet” anytime at 239-541-4888 or 941-621-2198.

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