This yr, the occasion coincided with President Joe Biden’s 81st birthday. First, Biden — the oldest president in U.S. historical past — wished to make mild of his age.
“By the way, it’s my birthday today,” the president mentioned, noting that friends with him within the Oval Office earlier than the occasion sang “Happy Birthday.” “I just want you to know, it’s difficult turning 60. Difficult.”
He additionally famous that the presentation of a National Thanksgiving Turkey to the White House has been a practice for greater than seven a long time.
“This is the 76th anniversary of this event, and I want you to know I wasn’t there .. for the first one,” Biden mentioned.
Biden Says The Turkeys Overcame “Tough Odds”
Before issuing the pardons, Biden mentioned Liberty and Bell had been Minnesota natives. However, they’re named for the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
“These birds have a new appreciation of the word, ‘let freedom ring,’” he mentioned, including that they love Honeycrisp apples, ice hockey, a thousand lakes, and the Mall of America — all issues the Midwest state is legendary for.
They overcame “some tough odds” to make it to the White House, Biden continued, saying, “They had to work hard to show patience and be willing to travel over a thousand miles.”
Hundreds of friends, together with Cabinet secretaries and White House workers who introduced kids, watched from the South Lawn as Biden kicked off the unofficial begin of Washington’s vacation season. His granddaughter, Maisy Biden, watched from the sidelines together with her half-brother, Beau Biden. After the ceremony, Beau was led over to pet one of many turkeys.
Steve Lykken, chairman of the National Turkey Federation and president of the Jennie-O Turkey Store, advised The Associated Press in an interview final week that the pardons are a “great way to kick off the holiday season and really, really a fun honor.”
Lykken launched Liberty and Bell on Sunday on the Willard Intercontinental, a luxurious lodge close to the White House. The gobblers checked into a set there on Saturday following their red-carpet arrival within the U.S. capital. The journey from Minnesota in a black Cadillac Escalade took a few days.
“They were raised like all of our turkeys, protected, of course, from weather extremes and predators, free to walk about with constant access to water and feed,” Lykken mentioned Sunday as Liberty and Bell strutted across the Willard’s newly renovated Crystal Room on plastic sheeting laid over the carpet.
The male turkeys, each about 20 weeks outdated and about 42 kilos (19 kilograms), hatched in July in Willmar, Minnesota. Jennie-O has its headquarters there. The turkeys had been a part of the “presidential flock,” Lykken mentioned. They listened to music and different sounds to organize them for Monday’s hoopla on the White House.
“They listened to all kinds of music to get ready for the crowds and people along the way. I can confirm they are, in fact, Swifties, and they do enjoy some Prince,” Lykken mentioned, which means Liberty and Bell are followers of Taylor Swift. “I think they’re absolutely ready for prime time.”
More On The Thanksgiving Tradition
The custom dates to 1947 when the National Turkey Federation first offered a National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Harry Truman. Back then, and even earlier, the gobbler was given for the primary household’s vacation consumption.
But by the late Nineteen Eighties, the custom had developed into an typically humorous ceremony during which the birds are given a second likelihood at life.
Liberty and Bell will now be cared for by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences.
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