Turkeys have been officially pardoned from being killed and eaten on Annual Turkey Day for 61 years, dating back to 1947. However, turkeys have been receiving presidential pardons unofficially since the days of Abraham Lincoln.
"This year marks the 61st anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. Though live Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented intermittently to presidents since the Lincoln administration, the current ceremony dates to 1947, when the first National Thanksgiving Turkey was presented to President Harry Truman."
For more information about the history of the Annual Turkey Ceremony clickhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/holiday/thanksgiving/2008/.
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