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The history of the presidential turkey pardon

Historians say this all started in 1863 when a live turkey was brought to the White House for Christmas.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It turns out the presidential turkey pardon doesn't have much to do with Thanksgiving after all. 

Let's connect the dots.  

Historians say this all started in 1863 when a live turkey was brought to the White House for Christmas. 

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The plan was to cook it and eat it,  but President Lincoln's son Tad fell in love with the bird, naming it Jack. 

When Christmas eve rolled around, Tad begged his dad to save Jack's life. 

President Lincoln wrote up a pardon for the turkey and gave it to his son. The turkey stayed as Tad's pet for at least another year. 

100 years later, President Kennedy reignited the tradition. He announced he wouldn't eat the turkey sent to the White House that year. 

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But it wasn't an official event until 1989 when President George HW Bush granted a presidential pardon to the bird in a White House ceremony. 

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