It's that time of year again — the presidential turkey pardon. The memes, the lame jokes, the gobbling — it's all there.
Yes, the tradition seems pretty silly. But it actually has some deep historical roots.
We know Ben Franklin was a fan of turkeys. He called the turkey "respectable" and a "Bird of Courage." He even said it "would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."
And there's a story that Abraham Lincoln's son convinced him to spare a turkey.
President Kennedy also spared a turkey, and the move was the first to be jokingly referred to by the press as a pardon.
But we didn't get our first official pardon until George H.W. Bush.
Every president since then has upheld the tradition. So there you have it: how we got to the modern presidential pardon.