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A Warrior’s Valentine

In Front Page, History by Allen West

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” — Isaiah 6:8 (NIV) 

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13 (NIV)

Greetings y’all, and a Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Now fellas, just know that today ain’t about us, and I pray you guys didn’t blow it and forget. One of the things that I hate about Valentine’s Day is that it happens during winter. So, guys, if you get put out into the “doghouse,” well, take extra blankets. Today is the day when we ask that question, “will you be my Valentine?” We send flowers, chocolates, and other gifts to that special one that we love.

There are many stories about the origin of Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine, so I went to the History Channel online:

“The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.  

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.”

If there is one theme that is consistent between these three versions of the story of Valentine, it is one of personal sacrifice. I think that is the true lesson of this day. It is not about the gifts, flowers, candies, or niceties bestowed, it is about what true love is all about: personal sacrifice.

That is why this missive is titled “A Warriors Valentine.” The Bible verses I shared at the beginning provide us a clear understanding of those who through the years have been willing to make “the last full measure of devotion,” love, for us to live in this great nation, America . . . and in this great State of Texas. When you consider all of those who have done as Isaiah stated, “Here am I, send me,” it should bring tears to our eyes. Truly, as Jesus said in John 15:13, there is no greater love than that of one person willing to lay down their lives for another.

When I think about being an American, I will never forget those men, Patriots, who took up the firing line at Lexington Green on April 19, 1775. They did not have to do it, but when they answered to call of arms for liberty and freedom and gave their lives. Their sacrifice enables us to be in this great land, 245 years later. Sadly, we may need a new generation of Patriots, men and women, willing to lay down their lives as we face a modern tyranny in our America . . . one that also seeks to disarm us, make us subjects.

If there's one theme in the story of #Valentine, it's personal sacrifice. That's the true lesson of this day, not gifts, flowers, or candies. It's what true #love is all about: personal sacrifice. #ValentinesDay Click To Tweet
Here in Texas, my home, in the place where I retired from the US Army back in 2004, I am reminded of true love. It was the love that began at a place called Gonzales with the defiant act of “Come and Take It.” It was a love of a 26-year-old who wrote a special “love letter” on February 24, 1836, which spoke of his duty, honor, and will to sacrifice all, as he led 185 men for 13 days at a place called The Alamo. It is the love of a man from Tennessee who came here — like many others — and fell in love with this Texas. He led a starving, ragtag group of men against a well-armed Mexican Army and a maniacal, murderous dictator named Santa Anna, to a resounding 18 minute victory at a place called San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

Today we give our loved ones red roses, they gave us their red blood.

During the fight for Texas’ independence, there were men who followed the Lone Star to this grand and expansive land that we call home. Just as I was born and raised in Georgia and attended the University of Tennessee, so did men from Georgia, like Mirabeau Lamar, and Tennessee, like another former member of Congress, Davy Crockett, find themselves here, in Texas. And today, others are drawn here to Texas for the opportunities and its embracing of rugged individualism. Virginia may claim that it is for “lovers,” but Texas is a place that we love, and am I first among those making that claim. Why do I love Texas? Because it is a place that loves liberty, freedom, and raises warriors and victors . . . not victims.

Happy Valentine’s Day to two of my true loves, America, and my home, Texas. You cannot have one, without the other as they are truly complementary. At this time, America and Texas are looking for those who do indeed love them, and as John 15:13 states, willing to lay down their lives for them.

That is the lesson, theme, of Valentine’s Day: personal sacrifice, and that is why this is, and always shall be, a warrior’s Valentine!

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LTC West is running for Chair of the Republican Party of Texas! To support his efforts, please visit his campaign website!

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