America

Obama Quotes O. Henry On 'Purely American' Nature Of Thanksgiving

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, and one of the turkeys "pardoned" today — Liberty. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga. i i

hide captionPresident Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, and one of the turkeys "pardoned" today — Liberty. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, and one of the turkeys "pardoned" today — Liberty. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga.

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, and one of the turkeys "pardoned" today — Liberty. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Citing the short story writer O. Henry and his lines about Thanksgiving being the "one day that is ours ... the one day that is purely American," President Obama this morning urged Americans to "remember what that means."

"Let's be grateful for what we have," Obama said during the now-annual event at the White House when presidents ceremonially pardon two turkeys. "Let's be mindful of those who have less. Let's appreciate those who hold a special place in our lives, and make sure that they know it. And let's think about those who can't spend the holiday with their loved ones –- especially the members of our military serving overseas."

Obama mixed in some political humor as well, saying "we can't wait" to pardon the birds. That's a reprise of the line he's used when trying to push lawmakers — especially Republicans — to support his economic plans.

He also said the turkeys ("Peace" and "Liberty") had gotten "media training" before coming to the White House, "which involves learning how to gobble without really saying anything."

The Associated Press has some video from the presidential pardoning ceremony.

The Associated Press/YouTube

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