As your professor of remedial history, it’s time for another lesson. Today we will discuss the historical significance of Valentine’s Day and why this most recent one is so important to humanity. Saint Valentine was a Christian priest who was imprisoned by the Roman Emperor Claudius II for the crime of taking care of other early Christians. While he was in prison, he cured the daughter of his jailer of her blindness. Then he tried to convert the emperor to Christianity. He was executed on February 14, 269 A.D. Just before his execution he wrote a note to the girl he cured and signed it, Your Valentine. He was given sainthood in the 4th century and by the 15th century, Valentine’s Day was popularly associated with the notion of romantic love. You know the rest of the story, Valentine’s Day is all about flowers, cards and candy. Self-sacrifice and compassion for others is kind of a hard sell.
Which brings me to Valentine’s Day 2016. I did my part to uphold tradition and express my undying affection for my wife. I made it through the whole day filled with joy and proud of myself for being a good husband. Then I opened my laptop and ran down the list of news headlines just to catch up on all the other wonderful things that happened today. I got as far as this headline and my heart sank. Everyone needs to read the whole article.
I don’t know much about the New York Post as a reliable source of information but this article seems pretty accurate and I’ve seen other sources with similar accounts. Let’s be clear here, I’m a dog person. I think dogs are the greatest companion anyone can ever have. Reading this article made me furious. How is it possible that so many dogs, who served in the armed forces of this country, are being given away to people who haven’t done anything to deserve them and the soldiers who cared for them and suffered with them can’t get ownership of them when they return from duty? This borders on sheer stupidity if not criminal negligence and our government officials should be ashamed of their gross irresponsibility. Just when I think our bureaucracy can’t get any worse, it always does.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect metaphor for why we should care about these dogs. Self-sacrifice and compassion made Valentine a saint. That’s the essence of love, not cards and flowers. These dogs have shown more love for humanity than most of us will ever achieve and many of them suffer from PTSD along with their soldier handlers. What rational person can’t comprehend the absolute necessity of getting these dogs back with the men and women they served with? Who would ever take better care of a wounded dog than the soldier who carried him off the battlefield? And what about the mental health benefits each dog would bring to the soldier? A good dog is a proven way to alleviate stress and combat depression. We can’t possibly be this stupid, can we?
As I wade through the swamp that is just another election year, I am still looking for a presidential candidate who can prove to me that they have common sense and clarity of purpose. Here’s their chance to get my vote. Fix this mess at the Department of Defense, now! I would even volunteer to run the reunification program for you for free. Just get the dogs back to the States and I’ll take it from there. I will give the soldiers first shot at being that dog’s lifelong caretaker and vice versa. Anyone who gave everything to keep this country safe, deserves the best we can give them in return. A dog companion would be an amazing expression of patriotism and compassion. Saint Valentine would probably be happy to share his day with these amazing dogs because they all know what it truly means to love one another.
Here’s a photo of our dog, Indiana. He looks a lot like the breeds that are most often trained for military duty. He has all the attributes of a first rate canine – tenacity, strength, fearlessness, protective instincts and a nose for trouble. He makes my life better every day. I know exactly how those soldiers feel about their dogs and I would do anything to help them get back together.
If you agree with me please share this blog with everyone you know. Let’s do what we can to bring these dogs home to their loving and devoted soldiers. If enough of us demand immediate action, even the politicians might come to their senses. I can always hope, can’t I?
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.