February 14: Happy Bloody Valentine’s Day!

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A Brief History

On February 14, we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, a day on which we show our appreciation for our special loved one or significant other.  Uncharacteristically, however, this date has also been a black day of death and murder!

Digging Deeper

Now considered a “Hallmark Holiday,” it was named after the unfortunate St. Valentine, a Christian, said to be a bishop, who was executed by the Romans in 269 A.D. for preaching the Gospel.  He was not just executed but beaten with clubs and beheaded.  Somehow, this guy whom we know almost nothing about came to symbolize romantic love (especially ironic since the root word of romantic is roman). 

Since then, other bloody events that also took place on February 14 include:

The death of St. Cyril, the man the Cyrillic alphabet is named after, in 869 A.D., but at least he was not beaten to death.

The burning of hundreds of Jews in Strasbourg in 1349, one of the particularly tragic events that took place on this day.

The murder of the famous British explorer James Cook in 1779.

The gunning down of 7 rival gangsters by the men of Chicago gangster Al Capone in what became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The bombing of Dresden by Allied bombers, killing 25,o00 civilians!  For good measure, U.S. bombers also accidently bombed Prague in Czechoslovakia.

The deaths of 48 people who were trapped in a Dublin nightclub, the Stardust, that burned in 1981.

The deaths of 120 people in Cameroon who were killed when an oil tanker train collided with a freight train.

The deaths of over 2 dozen people water park roof collapsed in Russia in 2004.

The deaths of a Lebanese billionaire and 21 other people when his motorcade was bombed.

 The shooting of 27 innocent people when a gunman opened fire at Northern Illinois University in 2008, killing 6 of them.  Perhaps the gunman had no “Valentine” to celebrate with.

All this information is enough for me to want to stay home on St. Valentine’s Day; out of concern for safety of course!  Not because I am a cheapskate…

Question for students (and subscribers): What is the worst tragedy that occurred on February 14th?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Sabuda, Robert.  Saint Valentine.  Aladdin, 1999.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.