November 23rd, 2011
11:00 AM ET
(CNN) – Two turkeys from Willmar, Minnesota are counting their blessings this day before Thanksgiving, officially pardoned by President Obama and set to be transported to classy digs at Mount Vernon.
For two turkeys, the day before at least 45 million of their comrades are to be consumed at dinner tables across the country, it’s the equivalent of winning the jackpot.
“Tomorrow is one of the best days of the year to be an American. It is a day to count our blessings, spend time with the ones we love, and enjoy some good food in great company. But it’s also one of the worst days to be a turkey. They don’t have it so good,” Obama said at a ceremony on the North Portico of the White House.
Named Liberty and Peace, the turkeys clock in at 45 pounds each and are 19-weeks old, according to the White House. They were chosen from over 100 submissions for the top honor.
Obama added the turkeys even received special preparations for their big day in the spotlight.
“They received the most important part of their media training which was learning how to gobble without really saying anything,” he said to laughter.
After the pardoning, the turkeys are in store for a life of luxury and leisure at the Mount Vernon estate. There, they will be on display during the holidays and then live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s livestock facility.
Liberty and Peace can thank Minneapolis and St. Paul school children for their bout of good fortune. Their submission came from students there who studied agriculture and its effect on local economies.
While the tradition of the president receiving a national Thanksgiving turkey began with Harry Truman in 1947, the first official presidential turkey pardon was given in 1989 by George H.W. Bush.