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November 25, 2015

US Presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardoning, in pictures

Jihad Douglas, chairman of the National Turkey Federation introduces a pair of turkeys at the Willard Inter Continental Hotel ahead of their 'pardon' by US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC. The names of the main turkey and his alternate will be announced at the annual White House ceremony.
Here is a look back at the history of the presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in pictures.
 US President Barack Obama 'pardons' the National Thanksgiving Turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House
2014: US President Barack Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey 'Cheese' during the annual ceremony in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, DC.
In 2011 President Obama used the same 'karate-chop' method to pardon 'Liberty' - a 19-week old bird weighing in at 45lbs
 Possibly the most famous 'pardoning' has to be the ceremony in 2001 when US President George W. Bush was taken by surprise in the Rose Garden of the White House by another turkey called 'Liberty'
 In 1998 President Clinton, flanked by National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Frank Gessell and NTF Secretary Treasurer Jerry Jerome, watched a 45lb turkey run around the Rose Garden of the White House
 The presentation of a turkey to the President each year began in 1947 under President Harry Truman. Above, President Truman receiving a Thanksgiving turkey from members of the Poultry and Egg National Board and other representatives of the turkey industry, outside the White House in 1949.
 November 1963: US President John F. Kennedy receives the annual White House Thanksgiving turkey from the National Turkey Federation, just three days before his assassination in Dallas. Kennedy returned the massive 55lb turkey to the farm, saying 'we'll let this one grow.'
 November 1967: US President Lyndon B. Johnson receives the annual White House Thanksgiving turkey from the National Turkey Federation and US Senator Everett Dirksen in the Fish Room (now the Roosevelt Room)
 1971: President Richard Nixon spares the Thanksgiving turkey on the steps of the White House
November 1975: US President Gerald Ford accepts the White House Thanksgiving turkey from representatives of the National Turkey Federation during a ceremony in the Rose Garden
 The first President on record issuing a 'pardon' to his turkey was Ronald Reagan, who pardoned a turkey named Charlie and sent him to a petting zoo in 1987
George H. W. Bush instituted the turkey pardon as a permanent part of the presentation beginning his first year in office in 1989. Since then, at least one of the turkeys presented to the President has been taken to a farm where it will live out the rest of its natural life.
 President Bill Clinton receives the Thanksgiving turkey in 1999

 November 2003: US President George W. Bush carries a platter of turkey as he visits US troops for Thanksgiving in Baghdad
November 2007: US President George W. Bush pets 'May' the turkey during the pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey

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