National Turkey Federation Chairman John Reicks presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Barack Obama during a ceremony last week at the White House. The turkey, named “Tot,” marked the 69th anniversary of the presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey in celebration of the uniquely American holiday.
“Thanksgiving is also a reminder of the source of our national strength,” said President Obama. “That out of many we are one, that we are bound not by any one race or religion, but rather by an adherence to a common creed that all of us are created equal. And while accepting our differences and building a diverse society has never been easy, it has never been more important. We are people that look out for one another and get each other’s backs. We keep moving forward, defined by values and ideals that have been a light to all humanity.”
“I’m very appreciative of the President’s words and his sharing the presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey as a focus of thanks, as well as a lighthearted moment of pardoning in the spirit of the warmth and fun of the holidays,” Reicks said.
In keeping with custom, the president “pardoned” the National Thanksgiving Turkey, “Tot”, and its alternate, “Tater”. Iowa school children suggested names for consideration. Both birds were raised under Reicks’ direction at the northwest Iowa farm of Chris and Nicole Domino.
The National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate will reside at “Gobbler’s Rest,” on the campus of Virginia Tech in a newly built enclosure located inside the Poultry Science Department’s Livestock Judging Pavilion. The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will be available for the public to visit and learn about the university’s teaching, research, and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.