About The Maltese Cross
The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection a badge of honor and its story is hundreds of years old.
Then the Crusader, known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the Holy Land; they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple but horrible device of war; it brought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the Cross.
The Saracens' weapon was FIRE. As the Crusaders advanced up the walls, they were struck by glass bombs containing a flammable liquid. When they became saturated, the Saracens hurled a flaming tree into their midst.
Hundreds of knights were burned alive. Others risked their lives to save their brother-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths. And so, these men became our first firefighters, and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters, I might add.
Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow Crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor, a cross very similar, if not like the one firefighters wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for nearly four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea, named Malta, the cross came to be known as the "Maltese Cross".
The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. (It has also been adopted by the Federation of Fire Chaplains). It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his/her life for others as the Crusaders did centuries ago.
The Maltese Cross is a firefighter's badge of honor, signifying that he/she works in courage a ladder rung away from death.
Copied with permission from Fireplug August 1998, Vol. 6 No. 3, pg. 39 "Chaplain's Corner" by Chaplain Michael Carr
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