The presidential turkey pardon is an interesting White House tradition that has captured the attention of the public in recent years. Live Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented to presidents since the Lincoln administration. The turkey pardon ceremony has been said to date back to 1947, when President Harry Truman received a turkey as a gift from the National Turkey Federation. The Truman Library has been unable to find any evidence of this.
It wasn't until the first Thanksgiving of President George H.W. Bush, in 1989, that a turkey was officially pardoned for the first time. Each year since the President has formally pardoned a turkey and spares it from ending up on the Thanksgiving table. Since 2005, the turkeys have been flown to Disneyland, where they serve as grand marshals of the theme park's annual Thanksgiving Day parade and live out the rest of their lives at Frontierland.
Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama pardons a turkey named 'Courage' as daughter Sasha looks on during an event to pardon the 20-week-old and 45-pound turkey at the North Portico of the White House.