Michiganders, It’s Time to Help Name the State’s Pardoned Turkey
It’s time for the residents of Michigan to play a role in naming the 2023 turkey set to receive a Thanksgiving pardon from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
In a recent news release, Governor Whitmer expressed her anticipation for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities. She emphasized the importance of family and friends coming together. However, she also made a special request, saying, “I need your help.” The Governor urged everyone, especially young Michiganders, to participate by proposing names for the forthcoming pardoned turkey.
Michigan Tukey Pardon
This tradition, although historically associated with the White House, was introduced to Michigan in November 2022. Governor Whitmer initiated the practice and enlisted the help of Michiganders to name the turkey. After receiving over 6,000 name suggestions, the turkey was named Mitch E. Gander and received a pardon.
The origins of the turkey pardon tradition can be traced back to 1947 when President Harry Truman was presented with a live turkey by the National Turkey Federation. According to the White House website, in 1963, President Kennedy returned a turkey to its farm of origin, marking the early stages of this custom. During the Nixon administration, the turkey was sent to a petting farm near Washington after the receiving ceremony and photos, although no formal pardon was issued. President George H.W. Bush granted the first official turkey pardon on November 14, 1989, declaring that year’s turkey had been “granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”
On another note, according to the History Channel, the tradition of pardoning a turkey was initiated by Abraham Lincoln. His son, Tad, had formed a close bond with a turkey named Jack, destined for the Thanksgiving table. Tad’s heartfelt plea to spare Jack’s life led Lincoln to save the turkey. This act of clemency marked the beginning of the Presidential turkey pardon, which has since become a cherished White House tradition during Thanksgiving.
For those eager to participate, Governor Whitmer’s office is accepting name submissions until November 17, with the winner set to be announced on November 20. You can submit as many name suggestions as you’d like, so don’t hesitate to contribute your creative ideas here.