Yes, the presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey dates back to President Lincoln and in its current form to President Truman. But something inside me is sympathetic to the argument forwarded by President Bartlet in a West Wing episode: that the practice is a bit absurd and constitutionally questionable.
That may explain why I favor another of today’s presidential actions over the turkey pardoning. This one is more in the spirit of Thanksgiving: giving thanks for hard-won freedoms.
I send greetings to those celebrating the first anniversary of the Orange Revolution.
One year ago today, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens stood up to defend democracy in their homeland. Through great courage and determination, they showed the world that the love of liberty is stronger than the will of tyranny. Last year’s revolution was a powerful example of freedom and democracy in action and an inspiration to those aspiring for freedom in their own land.
Ukraine’s leadership now faces an historic opportunity and has an historic responsibility to fulfill the promise of the Orange Revolution and continue to transform Ukraine into a fully democratic state. The United States will continue to support the efforts of President Viktor Yushchenko in advancing a democratic, prosperous, and secure Ukraine, and America is proud to call Ukraine a friend.
Laura and I send our best wishes on this special occasion.
GEORGE W. BUSH