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Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day falls on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, often anonymously. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines". Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

In the United States, the marketing of Valentine's Day has tagged it as a "Hallmark holiday".

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St Valentine's Day Massacre

St Valentine's Day MassacreThe St Valentine's Day Massacre is the name given to the shooting of seven people as part of a Prohibition Era conflict between two powerful criminal gangs in Chicago, Illinois in the winter of 1929: the South Side Italian gang led by Al "Scarface" Capone and the North Side Irish/German gang led by George 'Bugs' Moran.

On the morning of February 14, St. Valentine's Day, seven members of Moran's gang were lined up against the rear inside wall of the garage of the S-M-C Cartage Company in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago's North Side. They were then shot and killed by five members of Al Capone's gang (two of whom were dressed as police officers). Thus the killings became known as the St Valentine’s Day Massacre. When one of the dying men, Frank "Tight Lips" Gusenberg, was asked who shot him, he replied, "Nobody shot me." Capone himself had arranged to be on vacation in Florida at the time.

The St Valentine's Day Massacre was a result of a plan devised by Capone gang member Jack 'Machine Gun' McGurn to eliminate Moran, Capone's chief criminal enemy. The massacre was planned by McGurn partly in retaliation for an unsuccessful attempt by Frank and his brother Peter Gusenberg to murder him a month earlier. McGurn assembled a team of six men led by Fred Burke with the intent of having Moran lured into an ambush. Moran and his men would be tricked into visiting a warehouse on North Clark Street on the pretext of buying some bargain hijacked bootleg whiskey; Burke's team would then enter the building disguised as police officers and kill them. The chief architects of the plan, McGurn and Capone, would be well away from the scene.

Before any shooting had begun, Capone had placed lookouts in the apartments across the street from the warehouse. Capone, wishing to keep the lookouts inconspicuous, chose two men from another state to keep watch. Five members of the McGurn gang drove to the warehouse in a stolen police car at around 10:30 a.m., two dressed in police uniforms and three in ordinary street clothes. Moran, supposedly watching the warehouse, spotted the police car and fled. However, one of McGurn's lookouts confused one of Moran's men for Moran himself, and gave the signal to McGurn's men and they approached the warehouse.

At the warehouse, they found seven members of Moran's gang, and told them to line up facing the back wall, which they apparently did willingly, believing their captors were real (and comparatively harmless) police. All seven men were then shot and killed with a Thompson submachine gun. Among the dead were James Clark (AKA Albert Kachellek), Frank and Pete Gusenberg, Adam Heyer, Johnny May, optician Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, and Al Weinshank.

To show by-standers that everything was under control, two of Capone's men dressed as civilians came out with their hands up, led by the gang members posing as police officers. The St Valentine's Day Massacre marked the end of Moran's power on the North Side, and his gang vanished into obscurity, enabling Capone to take over the area; however, the event also brought the belated and full attention of the federal government to Capone and his criminal activities. This was ultimately Capone's downfall, for it led to his conviction and imprisonment on the Volstead Act and income tax evasion charges in 1931.

The garage, which stood at 2122 N. Clark Street, was demolished in 1967; the site is now a landscaped parking lot for a nursing home. The wall was dismantled brick by brick, sold at auction and shipped to George Patey of Vancouver, a Canadian businessman, who rebuilt it in the men's restroom of a bar with a Roaring Twenties theme called the Banjo Palace. After the bar closed, Patey began trying to sell the bricks as souvenirs.

The St Valentine's Day Massacre was used as a plot device in the 1959 film Some Like It Hot and was the subject of Roger Corman's 1967 film The St Valentine's Day Massacre. The TV series Early Edition revolved a story around the St Valentine's Day Massacre at the end of its final season, in the episode named "Everybody Goes to Rick's." It also inspired the song "Valentine's Day" by singer/song-writer James Taylor and rapper 50 Cent's 2005 album "The Massacre." It also gave its name to WWF's St Valentine's Day Massacre, a pay-per-view event held in 1999. In the Simpsons episode 803 aired Oct 10th 1991, there is a reference to the St Valentine’s Day Massacre when Bart shows Fat Tony a "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon where Itchy lines up a bunch of cats in front of a wall and shoots them with a machine gun. Fat Tony then replies (laughing) "It's funny because it's true."

Source: St Valentine's Day Massacre - Wikipedia

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