On November 26, 2002, President George W Bush pardoned a turkey.
Yes, a turkey. A feather-covered, gobbling bird.
The turkey had been involved in a large-scale bank heist in 1977… just kidding.
Every year at the White House a turkey is presented to the president as part of the United States’ Thanksgiving tradition. This year was no different, except for the fact that the Bush family apparently couldn’t stand to look that poor bird in the eye.
The National Turkey Foundation first presented President Harry Truman with a Thanksgiving turkey in 1947. That particular turkey was granted amnesty from all dinner tables by being sent to a local farm to live a long, happy turkey life. The tradition has continued each year.
In 2005, Bush pardoned two more turkeys, named Yam and and Marshmallow. The names had been voted upon by United States citizens through the White House website. Bush referred to the two birds as “The People’s Turkeys,” and granted them similar pardon: a long, happy turkey life without all the trimmings.
The Bush turkeys of 2003 were named “Stars” and “Stripes.”
Most of these pardoned turkeys were sent to a small Virginia farm, however, Yam and Marshmallow were sent to the only other logical place: Disneyland. They served as the official Grand Marshalls for the Disneyland Resort Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The Bush family did eat turkey on Thanksgiving… just not those that had been given an arbitrary title at random, and presented at the White House.