WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday by continuing the White House tradition of pardoning two turkeys. Liberty and Bell, the chosen turkeys for this year, are from Willmar, Minnesota, and were announced by the National Turkey Federation. The two turkeys are named after the famous Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, an interesting tidbit shared by Biden during the ceremony.
Not only did Biden acknowledge the turkeys’ origins and names, but he also humorously mentioned their newfound love for Honeycrisp apples, ice hockey, and the Mall of America in Bloomington. Additionally, he revealed that the pardon ceremony coincided with his own birthday, during which he had met with the chairman of the National Turkey Federation, Steve Lykken, and his family, who sang “Happy Birthday to You” to the president.
Biden emphasized the significance of the event, stating that it marked the unofficial start of the holiday season in D.C. and expressing gratitude to all the families across America who feed and fuel the nation and the world. Notably, this marked Biden’s third time pardoning a pair of turkeys, continuing a presidential tradition that began in 1947 with President Harry Truman. Ahead of their White House visit, Liberty and Bell enjoyed a luxurious stay at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Lykken, the chairman of the National Turkey Federation, shared that the turkeys received a red carpet welcome at the hotel and had been preparing for their big day in the spotlight by enjoying some music, including tracks by Taylor Swift and Prince. Following the ceremony, Liberty and Bell will spend the rest of their days at the University of Minnesota under expert care. The pair will also have the opportunity to enjoy activities such as attending a hockey game, according to Lykken.
Overall, the annual presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkeys celebrates the hard work of turkey farmers and individuals in the turkey industry, as well as the traditions and festivities of the holiday season. This long-standing tradition continues to bring joy and recognition to the industry, and the pardoned turkeys are always well-cared for in their post-pardon lives.