President Bush gives a Presidential pardon to 'Flyer' the national Thanksgiving turkey Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, in Washington. Holding the turkey is Lynn Nutt of Springfield, Mo.
Flyer and Fryer Turkey are not aviancounterfeiters. Or international grain kingpins. The two white birds have committed no known crime against man or beast. Their only offense? Being turkeys the day before the Thanksgiving holiday when Americans traditionally eat turkey.
But unlike millions of other less fortunate birds, Flyer and Fryer were spared the chopping block and won pardons from President Bush.
"This morning I am granting a full presidential pardon so they can live out their lives as safe as can be," the president announced.
The birds, from the Midwest state of Missouri, are on their way to California where they will be the honorary Grand Marshals of the Thanksgiving Day parade at the Disneyland theme park.
This was the 59th presidential pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey in the Rose Garden.
In the Rose Garden ceremony, President Bush said the holiday is a time for all Americans to be grateful for their blessings.
"In our journey across the centuries, from a few tiny settlements to a prosperous and powerful nation, Americans have always been a grateful people," he noted. "And we are this year as well. We are grateful for our beautiful land. We are grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all. We are grateful for our freedom. We are grateful for our families. And we are grateful for life itself."
Mr. Bush thanked members of the U.S. military who he says have set aside their own comfort and safety to defend the nation.
The president and Mrs. Bush will spend the Thanksgiving holiday at the presidentialretreatof Camp David in the mountains outside the nation's capital.