Fun facts for Valentine's Day

  • Published
  • By Col. Kelley Moore
  • 39th Medical Operations Squadron commander
By now I am sure you have all bought your favorite someone that special Valentine's Day card or gift. After all, it is the most celebrated holiday on the calendar. This day alone brings in $14 billion annually! Yes, 180 million red roses will be bought, and 36 million heart shaped boxes of candy will be sold. And even though most of the chocolate will be melted by the time it gets halfway across the world, our deployed loved ones will receive thousands of gifts from their family and friends during this loving season. But do you know the origin of Valentine's Day?

Although history isn't quite sure of the exact origin of Valentine's Day, one of the most popular legends is believed to stem from a priest named Valentine back in days of the Roman Empire. Emperor Claudius II wanted a big army and he found that when he sent the men off to battle they became sullen and missed their families. This was no good for a warrior so he decided to forbid any more marriages. Valentine thought this was absurd, so he went behind Claudius' back and married young couples in secret. This eventually landed him in jail. Many of the young people he married would come by the jail and give him flowers and notes. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. He fell in love with her. On the day he was executed, he left a note behind for this lady and signed it "Love from your Valentine." He died Feb. 14.

Now we know that February has turned into a month of love with grand gestures of romance. Did you know that in medieval times, girls ate bizarre foods on St. Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future spouse? Or in the Middle Ages, there was a belief that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex you met on the morning of St. Valentine's Day would become your spouse? And still today the city of Verona, Italy, where famous lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day.

Cupid, or Eros as the Greeks called him was a winged matchmaker. He shoots love tipped arrows into unsuspecting people. Often you see Cupid in pictures with a blind fold on insinuating that love is blind. Cupid can shoot two different types of arrows. If he shoots a gold tipped arrow, you will fall in love with the first person you see. If he shoots a lead tipped arrow, you won't want to have anything to do with the first person you see! Here's hoping your Valentine's Day is filled with love and may the arrows of Cupid be gold tipped. Love may not be all you need, but it certainly makes the ride worthwhile.

So don't forget your roses, candy and gifts for your loved-ones, definitely if they're deployed thousands of miles away. One melted heart-shaped chocolate could make a world of difference.