In the spirit of US Thanksgiving tradition, two turkeys receive presidential pardon

Thursday, November 22, 2007

President George W. Bush offers an official pardon to May, the 2007 Thanksgiving Turkey.
Image: Chris Greenberg.

On Tuesday, the press and members of the National Turkey Federation gathered in large numbers at the White House's Rose Garden in the United States to witness an annual Thanksgiving tradition in the U.S., a presidential pardon of two Thanksgiving turkeys.

Every year, a U.S. President gives a pardon to two turkeys, saving them from being put on a dinner table somewhere in America. This year, President George W. Bush pardoned two turkeys named May and Flower, who were both chosen for the pardon by the citizens of the U.S.

"Each of you is taking part in a tradition that goes back to the days of Harry Truman. And to paraphrase Harry today, we have a message for our two feathered friends: You cannot take the heat -- and you're definitely going to stay out of the kitchen. I thank everybody who voted online to choose the names for our guests of honor. And I'm pleased to announce the winning names [May and Flower]. [These names are] certainly better than the names the vice president suggested, which was Lunch and Dinner," Bush said jokingly.

After receiving the pardons, the turkeys got a special ride in a three-car motorcade to Dulles Airport, which included an array of lights, sirens and police motorcycles. From there, both turkeys were flown to Orlando, Florida on a plane dubbed United Turkey One where they were the Grand Marshalls for today's Thanksgiving Day parade in Walt Disney World. Both turkeys received a welcome which included a red carpet, and free passes to the park.

"So now I have a task, and that is to grant a full presidential pardon to May and Flower. They'll be shortly flown to Disney World, where they will serve as Honorary Grand Marshals for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I hope that honor doesn't go to their head. May they live the rest of their lives in blissful gobbling. And may all Americans enjoy a holiday full of love and peace. God bless you all," added Bush.