Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008

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Author: George W. Bush  | Date: November 26, 2008

Remarks at the Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation Ceremony,
November 26, 2008

Thank you all. Please be seated. Welcome to the Rose Garden for the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

This is a tradition that dates back to the Presidency of Harry Truman. Just to be safe, I will be pardoning a second bird—[laughter]—in the unlikely event the main act chickens out. [Laughter] Turkeys are not only the ones on edge this morning; you see, it turns out the Rose Garden is Barney’s turf. [Laughter] So the press corps is a little nervous as well. [Laughter]

I appreciate the representatives of the National Turkey Federation who have joined us: President Joel Brandenberger; Chairman Paul Hill; Paul’s wife, Mary June. Today’s birds were hatched on the Hill family farm in Ellsworth, Iowa. Paul’s son, Nathan, and daughter-in-law, Betsy, along with grandsons Collin and Connor, did a fabulous job of raising the guests of honor.

I also welcome the children here from Cloverly Elementary School. And after I make my brief remarks, you will be welcome to come up and pet our feathered friends.

This is an election year, so it is fitting that the names of these two birds were chosen through the democratic process. After a long, drawn-out election season, when the people finally spoke, the name of the ticket sent here to the White House was Pumpkin and Pecan. [Laughter] Pumpkin is right there. [Laughter] Pecan is in an undisclosed location. [Laughter]

Pumpkin and Pecan have an exciting trip ahead of them. Later today they will fly to Disneyland aboard "Turkey One." [Laughter] Pumpkin will be the honorary grand marshal of Disneyland’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Together, these birds will gobble the rest of their days in "the happiest place on Earth." I just hope they stay humble there. [Laughter]

This is my final Thanksgiving as the President. Over the past 8 years, I have been givenmany reasons to be thankful. I’m thankful to our men and women in uniform, and I am incredibly proud to have been their Commander in Chief. I am thankful for the armies of compassion, volunteers who feed the hungry and shelter the poor. I am thankful for the teachers and nurses and pastors and police officers and firefighters, and others who serve their neighbors and better their communities.

I’m thankful for the wonderful and supporting family that I have been blessed with. I’m grateful to Laura for her love. I’m grateful for two Thanksgiving miracles who were blessed—who we were blessed with 27 years ago: Barbara and Jenna. I’m thankful for the fact that my mother is doing well. And this year, we’re looking forward to having another place at our Thanksgiving table with a son-in-law, and I’m thankful for Henry.

Most of all, I thank the American people for the tremendous privilege of serving as the President. In recent weeks, I’ve talked a lot about sprinting to the finish. Yet I’ve assured these turkeys they will not be trotting to their finish. [Laughter] That’s because in keeping with a longstanding tradition, Pumpkin and Pecan are hereby granted a full and unconditional Presidential pardon.

I wish all Americans a happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:20 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Henry Hager, husband of Jenna Bush.

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Chicago: George W. Bush, "Remarks at the Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation Ceremony, November 26, 2008," Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008), 44:1459-1460 Original Sources, accessed May 27, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=XM1UHP1N6IJQMMB.

MLA: Bush, George W. "Remarks at the Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation Ceremony, November 26, 2008." Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008), 44:1459-1460, Original Sources. 27 May. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=XM1UHP1N6IJQMMB.

Harvard: Bush, GW, 'Remarks at the Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation Ceremony, November 26, 2008' in Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, November 28, 2008 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008), 44:1459-1460. Original Sources, retrieved 27 May 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=XM1UHP1N6IJQMMB.