For this week's blog, I intended to look back at previous Thanksgiving celebrations in the White House, but I became distracted by other things that I decided to readers would enjoy more:
First Turkey Pardon
Though President John F. Kennedy determined to keep--not kill--the live turkey given to him for the White House feast, the tradition of formally pardoning the White House turkey did not begin until 1989 when President George H.W. Bush bestowed an official pardon upon his gift turkey.
In 2005 a new tradition began. The turkeys were pardoned and then flown to Disneyland to serve as grand marshals of the Disneyland Thanksgiving parade; then they lived out their lives at a Disneyland ranch. No word from the turkeys to whether the grand marshal experience was worth the fright they must have suffered being transported by air; this year's turkey is actually going to Mt. Vernon, perhaps because of fear of a patdown by the TSA.
And Two Priceless Quotes:
We don't see a lot of humor from President Obama but I loved his statement last year: "There are certain days that remind me of why I ran for this office. And then there are moments like this where I pardon a turkey and send it to Disneyland," he said. (11-25-09)
And I quit reading about Thanksgiving in the White House when I came upon a letter Will Rogers wrote to The New York Times (published in "Letters to the Editor," November 23, 1929). In part, he wrote:
"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something.
"When they do nothing, that don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous."
I suppose those are words we may want to keep in mind over the next two years.
Perhaps next year I'll tell you about how previous presidents celebrated Thanksgiving, but the above information was just too good to pass up.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
And if you're looking for things to be grateful for, visit America Comes Alive. Despite some of the frustrations we're facing as a country, there are many, many reasons to be thankful we are Americans. Have a great holiday.