Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented intermittently to presidents since the Lincoln administration in the 1860s, but those turkeys were roasted for the Thanksgiving table. Presidents have pardoned turkeys since Harry Truman began the tradition in 1942.
Liberty, along with his feathered friend, Peace, were chosen from a flock of 30 birds from a Minnesota farm and raised by nearby high school students. On Wednesday, President Obama, grinning, raised his hand over Liberty and pronounced it safe from slaughter. Liberty and its alternate, Peace, will live out their days at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.