We are officially three Tuesdays away (17 days) from Thanksgiving, so for the month of November, Totally True Facts Tuesday presents a Thanksgiving fact each week!
This week, let’s talk turkey…pardoning.
The turkey presentation to the sitting President is a tradition dating back to the 1940s, but the first turkey pardoned was done so by President Ronald Reagan.
Reagan began sending the turkeys to farms and zoos since 1982, but first officially “pardoned” a turkey in 1987. The bird, Charlie, headed for a petting zoo.
At the time, Reagan faced questioning about the Iran-Contra affair and whether or not he would be pardoning Oliver North. The turkey was “pardoned” by Reagan in order to deflect questions about this.
In 1988, during his final year in office, President Reagan did not pardon a turkey, but President George H.W. Bush did during his first Thanksgiving as President in 1989. That tradition has stuck since then, and every President has pardoned a new turkey each year.
There are some great (read: funny) videos of the turkey pardons over the years, but this one, posted on YouTube by the Reagan Foundation, is hilarious. And since this is about the first President to officially pardon the turkey, why not watch the time (1981) when a sitting President told the presented bird that he had the chance to shoot him a few days ago?
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons
All politics aside, this is a hilarious tradition that I’m glad still goes strong.
If only for photos like this.