Sound Off

Who was the first president to pardon a National Thanksgiving Turkey?

Though the tradition of giving a U.S. president the National Thanksgiving Turkey started in 1947 with President Harry S. Truman, most of those birds ended up on the dinner table. President John F. Kennedy bucked that tradition when he received a turkey and decided “we’ll just keep him,” but the bird was not pardoned. The first president to officially do so was President George H.W. Bush in 1989, saying: “This fine tom turkey has been granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”


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