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  • Butter the Turkey at 2019 Pardoning Ceremony
    Matthew D'Agostino
    holidays
    Turkey Pardon
    Thanksgiving
    South Grounds
    Rose Garden
    This photograph of Butter, one of a pair of presidential turkeys, and a handler was taken by Matthew D'Agostino on November 26, 2019. President Donald Trump officially "pardoned" Butter during the day's ceremony. Following the ceremony, the pair of turkeys, named Bread and Butter, were transferred to 'Gobblers Rest' reserve in Blacksburg, Virginia to be cared for by veterinarians and students of Virginia Tech's Animal and Poultry Sciences Department. Presidents and their families have received turkeys for the holidays as far back as the 1870s. However, the origin of the turkey pardon is said to have started with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, after he offered clemency to a turkey purchased for Christmas dinner at his son's request. The pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey became a formalized tradition during the Ronald Reagan administration.