It's a Presidential pardon given each year to a symbolic Thanksgiving turkey, or turkeys, as was the case Wednesday at the White House. President Obama was assisted by his two daughters as you'll see in this PBS/YouTube video.

Some say the tradition dates back to President Truman in 1947, but the Truman Library has no record of it. The picture you see was Truman receiving a turkey from the Poultry and Egg National Board, but some sources say all Chief Executives since Lincoln receive a bird for the First Family's Thanksgiving meal.

The first official ceremony is said to have happened in 1989 under then President George H. W. Bush.