Facts You Probably don’t Need

  • Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863.


  • Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” wrote letters for 17 years to President Lincoln campaigning for Thanksgiving to be made a national holiday.


  • In 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of the month —instead of the fourth — in hopes of helping the shopping season during the Depression era. The tweak never caught on, and it was changed back two years later.


  • Each year, the president of the U.S pardons a turkey instead of adding it to the dinner table. The first turkey pardon began with President Truman in 1947, who spared a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who was then flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade!


  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, instead of the bald eagle.


  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s first meal in space after their historic moonwalk consisted of foil packets with roasted turkey.


  • Campbell’s soup wisely created green bean casserole for an annual cookbook 50 years ago. That dish now brings in a value of $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year.


  • The heaviest turkey on record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, weighed in at a hefty 86 pounds.

Facts by Sean McVeigh, factologist.

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