By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters)U.S. President Joe Biden pardoned two enormous white-plumed turkeys from Minnesota on Monday, granting Liberty and Bell freedom from Thanksgiving dinner tables as Americans prepared for their annual feasts.

With schoolchildren squealing in delight from the audience on the South Lawn of the White House, Biden took part in an annual tradition that goes back decades.

“These birds have a new appreciation for the words ‘let freedom ring,'” said Biden.

Liberty weighed in at 42.5 pounds (19.3 kg) while Bell weighed 42.1 pounds.

“That’s a big bird, man,” Biden said of Liberty as the turkeys gobbled.

The two turkeys had spent the night in tranquility at the Willard Hotel not far from the White House.

They were raised in Willmar, Minnesota, under the direction of the National Turkey Federation. The turkeys will “retire” to the University of Minnesota‚Äôs College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in St. Paul.

Millions of turkeys will be roasted in Thanksgiving ovens across the country on Thursday and drenched in gravy, accompanied by a variety of side dishes including holiday staples like stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole.

Biden noted that while it was his birthday as well on Monday, he was not around for the first such turkey pardoning event 76 years ago.

“I want you to know I wasn’t there at the first one. I was too young to make it up,” he said.

Biden turned 81 years old on Monday.

(Reporting By Steve Holland Editing by Bill Berkrot)

((Steve.a.holland@thomsonreuters.com; www.twitter.com/steveholland1; 202 898 8300; Reuters Messaging: steve.holland.reuters.com@reuters.net))



Source: Nasdaq

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