Nation & World News

Poultry Pardon: President Rewards America’s Top Turkey

By Bill Chappell on November 28th, 2013

A turkey caught a break in Washington today. President Obama bestowed the traditional presidential pardon to a turkey named Popcorn, who now becomes the 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey. It’s the 66th anniversary of the tradition that keeps a lucky turkey or two off the dinner table.

In bestowing the official pardon, the president also observed the tradition of cracking a few jokes at the short outdoor ceremony at the White House, where he was joined by his daughters, Natasha and Malia.

“The office of the presidency — the most powerful position in the world — brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities,” he said. “This is not one of them.”

The pardon came after the White House announced the results of “The Gobble,” a competition that pitted two turkeys — Caramel and Popcorn — against each other for the title of this year’s honored turkey. The two male birds were hatched on the same day at the farm of John and Joni Burkel near Badger, Minn., according to the White House.

Obama said, “Now, 80 turkeys on John’s farm competed for the chance to make it to the White House and stay off the Thanksgiving table. It was, quite literally, the hunger games.”

The two birds’ names were chosen from a pool of submission from students at Badger High School in Badger, Minn. They traveled to Washington along with the Burkels for today’s ceremony.

Both Caramel and Popcorn escaped with their lives. But they’ll have to earn their keep for a while — they’ll be on display for visitors to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia through Jan. 6. After that date, they’ll travel to a sort of retirement home for America’s pardoned turkeys, at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill farm in Leesburg, Va.

“This is a quintessentially American holiday, and during this time we give thanks to our friends and our family,” the president said toward the end of the rainy ceremony, “for citizens who show compassion to those in need, and for neighbors who help strangers they’ve never met.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Saturday.

Iraq’s National Museum To Open For First Time Since 2003 Invasion

The planned reopening was moved up following the release of a video showing self-declared Islamic State extremists destroying priceless ancient artifacts in the Mosul museum.


Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas patrol on the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip earlier this month.

Egypt Declares Hamas ‘Terrorist’ Group

The organization, an offshoot of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, controls the Gaza Strip.


People lay flowers on Saturday at the place where Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

West Calls On Russia For Independent Probe Of Nemtsov’s Murder

The opposition leader and harsh critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down in public on Friday.


Speaker of the House John Boehner responds to reporters about the impasse over passing the Homeland Security budget on Friday.

Funding Homeland Security: Where Do We Go From Here?

President Obama late Friday signed a stopgap measure to keep the department running for another week, but the tussle over his executive action on immigration, linked to the funding, is not over yet.


Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow today.

Putin Critic Boris Nemtsov Shot Dead

Nemtsov served as a governor and deputy prime minister in the 1990s. He later became an opposition leader and sharp critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was killed on a street in Moscow.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments