Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Presentation of the White House Thanksgiving Turkey.

November 17, 1964

FIRST of all, I want to thank you very much for your thoughtfulness in coming here to the White House today and bringing me a turkey to eat on Thanksgiving. I hadn't been quite sure what I was going to eat Thanksgiving, but I am glad I can eat turkey instead of crow.

You know, Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national symbol. He thought it was much more respectful than the eagle, but we do have the eagle to symbolize our preparedness, our desire for peace in the world, and we do have a lot to be thankful for.

I hope that every family in this land will be able not only to enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving, because we have so much to be thankful for, but that they will be able to enjoy--with their prayers that I am sure all of them will have for their families, their future, and this country and the freedom that is ours--some good turkey.

We look to the turkey to participate in this great Thanksgiving Day that is a national holiday, when all of us should take time out to thank our Maker and our country for our lands and our families, the bounties and the blessings that are ours.

One thing that I think we must constantly be aware of is that no people anywhere during any period of history have ever had so much to be thankful for as we Americans. Those of you who were thoughtful enough to bring me a turkey to be thankful for, I will tell you I will use that turkey in my Thanksgiving Day participation. All of you good folks--even some of you columnists that get things mixed up sometimes--I am going to use in my prayers.

Note: The President spoke at 1:10 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. The traditional presentation of the Thanksgiving Day turkey was made by members of the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Presentation of the White House Thanksgiving Turkey. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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