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Archive for Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Turkeys to serve as parade leaders rather than Thanksgiving dinner

November 23, 2005

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— President Bush spared two turkeys from becoming Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, the birds are going to Disneyland.

Thousands of people voted on the White House Web site to name the national turkey "Marshmallow" and an alternate called "Yam." At a ceremony Tuesday, Bush stroked Marshmallow's white fluffy feathers and patted its red head.

In years past, turkeys spared were sent to live at a local farm.

"Marshmallow and Yam were a little skeptical about going to a place called Frying Pan Park," Bush said to giggling students.

This year, the turkeys, raised by James and Vicki Trites of Henning, Minn., will be honorary grand marshals at Disneyland's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "I know Marshmallow and Yam are going to feel pretty good strutting around sunny California, remembering the cold days of Minnesota," Bush said.

The turkey ceremony, which usually is held in the Rose Garden, was moved inside to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Vice President Dick Cheney looked on as Bush talked of giving thanks for the generosity extended to the victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes and for U.S. troops serving abroad.


President Bush invites local schoolchildren to pet Marshmallow, the beneficiary of this Thanksgiving's traditional presidential pardon, Tuesday in Washington. Turkey farmer James Trites, right, steadies Marshmallow. National Turkey Federation Chairman Pete Rothfork watches at left.

President Bush invites local schoolchildren to pet Marshmallow, the beneficiary of this Thanksgiving's traditional presidential pardon, Tuesday in Washington. Turkey farmer James Trites, right, steadies Marshmallow. National Turkey Federation Chairman Pete Rothfork watches at left.

"We think of our military families who will have an empty seat at the table this Thanksgiving," he said.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which in the past has been critical because presidential turkeys have been sent to a working farm rather than an animal sanctuary, praised the decision to send them to Disneyland.

"I don't suppose we could have asked for better than Disneyland and southern California," said Bruce Friedrich of PETA. "They'll have mental and physical stimulation as well as proper care and a nice climate."

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