Part of the pageantry of the White House is the annual turkey pardoning, which takes place today in the Rose Garden. For the two turkeys vying for one pardon, this has been a relaxing week at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC.
The tradition of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving started in 1963, when President Kennedy received a turkey around his neck stating, “GOOD EATING, MR. PRESIDENT!” Instead of thanking him in advance for the great meal he would provide, Kennedy said, “We’ll just let this one grow.”
Thus, the Los Angeles Times ran with a headline, “Turkey gets presidential pardon.”
But no president used the word “pardon” until President Reagan did in 1987…as part of a joke about the Iran Contra scandal. It was not until 1989 that President George H. W. Bush formalized the annual pardon. As NPR details, that year he said:
Let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy. He’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.
This year Bread and Butter, the two turkeys vying for a presidential pardon, checked into the Willard hotel on Sunday. Both grew up in North Carolina.
The room featured two double beds, though the birds seemed more comfortable amonst the wood shavings on the floor.
The Willard is my favorite hotel in the district and I’ve written fondly about it on several occasions. One thing that really draws me to that hotel is its rich history.
> Read More:
- Why The Willard InterContinental Is My Favorite Hotel In Washington, DC
- Review: The Willard Suite At The Willard InterContinental Hotel Washington, DC
A bit tangential to travel, but when I saw the Willard connection, I could not help but to mention it. We’ll soon know which turkey will be spared, though the I’m not sure either Bread and Butter are most in need of a pardon…
image: White House