HISTORY of the MALTESE CROSS
The badge of a fire-fighter is the
Maltese Cross. This Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of
honor. Its story is hundreds of years old.
When a courageous band of crusaders 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 a horrible device of war, it wrought
excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross. The
Saracen's weapon was fire.
As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass
bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable
liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the
knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their
brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.
Thus, these men became our first fire-fighters and the first of a long list of
courageous fire-fighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow
crusaders who awarded each here a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one
fire-fighters wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to 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 means that the fire-fighter who
wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders
sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross
is a fire-fighter's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage - a ladder
rung away from death.
- this article, and the image are a direct copy from www.offdutyfirefighters.com