Each year since the Truman administration, and harkening back as far as President Lincoln, the president grants a full pardon to a Thanksgiving turkey.
This year's turkey, and back up in case he can not perform his official duties, were named Flyer and Fryer by online voters on the White House Web site, including the use of technology in this annual tradition. "Probably better to be called Flyer than Fryer," remarked President Bush at a press conference this morning.
The pardoning of Thanksgiving turkeys has been part of the historical backdrop of our country for decades. In 1996 President Clinton went directly to the pardoning ceremony just after returning from an Asian summit, and the first President Bush left shortly after the 1990 ceremony to have Thanksgiving with troops in the Persian Gulf. "In our journey across the centuries from a few tiny settlements to a prosperous and powerful nation, Americans have always been a grateful people, and we are this year as well. We're grateful for our beautiful land ... we're grateful for our freedom. We're grateful for our families. And we're grateful for life itself," said Bush.
Flyer and Fryer will live out the rest of their days without fear of the oven, living the good life in Disneyland, where they will be honorary Grand Marshals in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Pres. Bush with Girl Scouts from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., and Flyer the Pardoned Thanksgiving Turkey