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

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks during an NFL football news conference at Gillette Stadium, on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass. Belichick defended the team against allegations they had cheated by using underinflated footballs in a championship game.

Patriots’ Coach: Team ‘Followed Rules’ On Inflation Of Footballs

Bill Belichick says that after an exhaustive investigation he determined that temperature differences between the locker room and the field inadvertently caused the discrepancies.


Crew members carry a bag containing the body believed to be a victim of AirAsia Flight 8501 to a waiting helicopter on the deck of Indonesian Navy ship KRI Banda Aceh, on the Java Sea, Indonesia, on Friday.

First Attempt To Lift AirAsia Fuselage Fails

Ropes supporting the core piece of wreckage as it was lifted from the sea floor snapped just as the fuselage neared the surface, officials say.


A passerby watches a TV news program reporting two Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto, left, and Haruna Yukawa, held by the Islamic State group, in Tokyo, on Friday.

Video Purports To Show Beheaded Japanese Hostage

The unconfirmed video was released after a deadline to pay a $200 million ransom for the lives of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yakawa passed. It appears to change the Islamic State kidnappers’ demands.


Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near the burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday.

Ukraine Rebel Leader Claims New Attack On Mariupol

The attack follows a rebel rocket barrage that hit an open-air market in the port city, killing at least 15 civilians.


A woman cadet of National Cadet Corps (NCC) walks past the saluting base during the full dress rehearsal for Republic Day rehearsals in Kolkata, India, on Saturday. President Obama will be the chief guest at the parade.

Obama To Cut Short India Visit For Stop In Saudi Arabia

The president will shave one day from the planned three-day visit to India to make room in his schedule to visit the new Saudi king in Riyadh.


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