President Obama Pardons Turkey(10 images)

U.S. President Obama waved his hand over Courage the turkey Wednesday, pardoning the bird from being the guest of honor on someone's Thanksgiving Day table.

"I hereby pardon Courage so he can live out his days in peace and tranquility" in Disneyland, where he also will serve as grand marshal Thursday in the Orlando, Fla., theme park's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Obama said he was showing mercy to the 45-pound bird at the behest of first daughters Sasha and Malia because "I was planning to eat this sucker."

"That's a good-looking bird," Obama said several times during the minutes-long pardoning ceremony of Courage, who was bred in North Carolina along with his stand-in, Carolina.

Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama would take two turkeys to Martha's Table, which provides meals for the Washington-area homeless.

"So, it's fair to say I've saved or created four turkeys," Obama said, poking fun at his stimulus plan and its mantra about saving or creating jobs.

In a more serious vein, Obama said he was thankful to serve the American people as president and to be commander in chief for U.S. troops, wishing service members and their families a happy Thanksgiving Day.

Times of war and bad economic conditions, such as the United States is experiencing now, makes remembering reasons to be thankful "resonate more powerfully," Obama said.

Courage, uttering only a few gobbles, was unruffled by the fanfare, even when Obama and the girls petted it.

U.S. President Barack Obama, joined by daughters Sasha (L) and Malia, pardons a turkey named Courage on Thanksgiving Eve on the North Portico of the White House in Washington on November 25, 2009. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Walter Pelletier. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
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