On February 14th, 278, Valentine was beheaded by Emperor Claudius. Since then, Valentine has transformed from a martyr to the patron saint of love and romance. For the non-romantics, here are 14 other things that happened on February 14th:
1. 1778- The United States Flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time. French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to the USS Ranger.
2. 1779- Captain James Cook, a British explorer, is killed by native Hawaiians.
3. 1797- John Jervis and Horatio Nelson lead the British Royal Navy to victory over the Spanish near Gibraltar during the French Revolutionary Wars.
4. 1803- Oregon is admitted as the 33rd state.
5. 1849- In New York City, James Polk became the first President of the United States to have his photo taken.
6. 1879- Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray for his own telephone patent.
7. 1895- Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Earnest" opens at the St. James's Theatre in London.
8. 1912- Arizona is admitted as the 48th state.
9. 1924- Thomas Watson renames his company from Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (C-T-R) to International Business Machine Corporation (IBM).
10. 1962- Jackie Kennedy shares a televised tour of the White House with American households.
11. 1967- Aretha Franklin records "Respect".
12. 1978- The first "micro on a chip" was patented by Texas Instruments.
13. 1990- After it was launched in 1977, Voyager 1 successfully sends a series of 60 images that were assembled into a large mosaic to show a complete picture of our solar system.
14. 2000- The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker enters orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.
We will celebrate the 14th by having a luau on a boat with an American flag that has the 33rd and 48th stars circled while listening to Aretha Franklin and reading Oscar Wilde on an IBM tablet under the stars. How will you celebrate?