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Did you know that since President George H. W. Bush started the tradition of pardoning turkeys in 1989 there have been 24 turkeys to receive Presidential Pardons, sparing them from the dinner table? Somewhat ironically, that first turkey to receive a Presidential Pardon was sent to Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia. In any event, the latest two turkeys to receive a Pardon were Peace and Liberty, both who received a pardon by President Barack Obama in a ceremony held on the North Portico of the White House.
But was President George H. W. Bush the first to pardon a turkey? According to the definitive history of turkey pardons on the White House blog, the answer is technically yes but not really yes. While there are rumors that President Lincoln issued the first pardon at the behest of his son, it is known that in 1963 President Kennedy returned the turkey sent to the White House saying: “We’ll just let this one grow.” Perhaps not exactly a pardon, but the turkey was spared the death penalty.