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5 historical events that change the way you think of Valentine’s Day

This article is part of the Voyeur 2020 💕


Whether you are planning a five-course meal, double-feature, bubble-bath-to- cap-it-off date night or just staying home and doing homework on your Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to forget the historical events that have taken place on the 14th of February.

Oregon and Arizona celebrate their birthdays

Oregon will be turning 161 this year, and Arizona will be turning 108. Imagine having a date that lets you know exactly when to celebrate your state’s establishment. After learning this, it’ll be hard to neglect the fact that Valentine’s Day was the starting point for great things like Nike and Portland; conversely, in Arizona, we got the Grand Canyon for good and even some mediocre professional sports teams.

The Bombing of Dresden

Over 25,000 lives were lost in the bombing of Dresden, Germany during World War II. The second day of the bombing took place on Valentine’s Day in 1945. The Allies completely gutted the city and the bombing was a major event in the months leading up to Germany’s surrender in April.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa against Salman Rushdie

Nothing says a Valentine’s Day gift like one man giving the okay to kill another man. British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie wrote “The Satanic Verses” in 1988 but included what some considered blasphemous Islamic comments. In 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa, a rule by Islamic law issued by a higher authority, when calling for Rushdie’s death. Rushdie encountered multiple failed assassination attempts, and the fatwa still stands today, but the Iranian government has discontinued supporting it.

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Let’s take a bus up to Chicago this Valentine’s Day and head up to Lincoln Park. We can go to the zoo, maybe stop by a restaurant; we can also visit the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. It’s been 91 years since the famous mob hit that killed seven people and became a prime example of mob activity during prohibition-era Chicago. Two men dressed as police officers lined up seven men against a wall and took out two Tommy Guns to paint us a gruesome picture. It’s the type of situation that sounds like it was written for “The Godfather.”

Carl Bernstein, Michael Bloomberg, Teller, Terry Gross and Jimmy Hoffa are born

We started with birthdays, and we will end with birthdays. These individuals have entertained us, informed us and littered our YouTube videos with multiple ads (I’ll let you guess which one that is). If you’re under the age of 40, you probably don’t know any of these people. If you love public radio, movies and magic, then you kind of get the vibe I’m going for. So if you’re alone on Valentine’s Day, this would be the best (and only) time to light a single candle cupcake and say the words, “Happy 107th birthday, Jimmy Hoffa.”

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