Valentine’s Day, also known as St. Valentine’s Day, is celebrated today. It is a tradition honored by many Americans and their families uniformed and civilian. There is no definitive origin story to single out the one true inspiration for the holiday, but according to one legend, a priest named Valentine, who is thought to have written letters from prison signed, “From your Valentine” to a woman he befriended, who happened to be his jailer’s daughter.
Other accounts exist but the date of February 14th began its association with romantic gestures around the 14th century. The earliest Valentine messages were sent in the 1500s. By the 1700s printed cards were used to convey messages of love. The United States version of cards showing up in history began in the 1800s.
February 14th is not a national holiday, but for military families, it is a day that can be bittersweet due to deployments, TDYs, and permanent change of station moves. All those things typically signify some form of family separation and loved one’s separation, and for those still “at home” while a service member performs their duty on the 14th, it takes some creativity to celebrate and try to maintain that feeling of togetherness despite being physically distant.
When physical separation exists because of military service, one can use Zoom calls or other video conferencing to be together. But it does not have to end there–gifts and care packages can also be sent to the servicemember to narrow the distance.