The tradition dates back to president John F. Kennedy.  Ever since, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been used to "pardon a turkey," or another words, save his neck from someone's Thanksgiving table.

This year, President Obama "pardoned" two turkeys.  Thanks to the president, 19 pound Cobbler and his buddy Gobbler will live out their days on George Washington's estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Here's how the ceremony went in Washington D.C. Wednesday afternoon:

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.