CROSS OF MALTA HISTORY
The Maltese Cross is over 1,000 years old and to those who understand it's history it signifies a higher order of courage, service, and sacrifice to man-kind. The Maltese Cross, or Cross of Malta, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta
In the 15th century, the eight points of the four arms of the later called Maltese Cross represented the eight lands of origin, or Languages of the Knights Hospitaller. In the mid 16th century, when the Knights were at Malta, the familiar design now known as the "Maltese Cross" became associated with their island. Through them it came to be identified as the Mediterranean island of Malta, of which the cross is a national symbol.
The first evidence for Maltese Cross on Malta appears on the 2 Tarì and 4 Tarì Copper coins of the Grand Master Jean de la Vallette-Parisot (Grand Master 1557-1568). The 2 and 4 Tarì Copper coins are dated 1567 and this provides the date for the introduction of the Maltese Cross in history.
The Maltese Cross is eight-pointed and has the form of four "V"-shaped elements joined together at their tips, so that each arm has two points. Its design is based on crosses used since the First Crusade and is also the modern symbol of Amalfi, a small Italian republic of the 11th century.
The eight points are said to symbolize the eight points of courage:
Glory and honor,
Contempt of death,
Helpfulness towards the poor and the sick,
Respect for the church
The cross was adopted as the emblem of the Knights of St. john, the world’s first great brotherhood of men who fought to free the oppressed and administer to the sick and needy. Both the Order of Saint John (in German, the Johanniterorden) and the Venerable Order of St John teaches that the eight points of the cross represent the eight Beatitudes. The Order's main service organization, St John Ambulance, has applied secular meanings to the points as representing the traits of a good first aider:
Even today, the Maltese cross remains the symbol of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and other Orders of St John, and St. John Ambulance. In recent centuries, it has come to be adopted as the insignia of numerous orders of chivalry.
For the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars the Cross of Malta symbolizes more than just the official V.F.W. emblem. The Cross of Malta as we know it, is the colorful insignia displayed and worn by our Combat Veterans of the United States and is more than just a badge of membership. It expresses the highest ideals of courage, constancy, and service.
The founding members of the V.F.W. selected the Cross of Malta as their emblem because, like the original Crusaders, they have pledged themselves to defend human rights in time of peace and war, and as President Abraham Lincoln said in his 2nd Inaugural Address -- "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan."
When a new member joins the Veterans of Foreign Wars there is a vow to maintain the oath they have taken during their military service to the United States of America... "I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
This loyalty to our Nation, her citizens, to the V.F.W. and to our comrades and communities pledges that Veteran to always crusade for the freedom of mankind and to administer to the sick and needy. Like the original Knights of St. John, the V.F.W. members fulfill their vows by giving aid to worthy comrades, a helping hand to their widows and orphans and eternal defense to everyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those Veterans qualified to wear the V.F.W. Cross of Malta, do so with a sense of pride for they, through their selfless sacrifices and service to our Nation, have indeed earned the right to wear the Cross of Malta and they wear it proudly.
And now you know... God Bless You and God Bless The United States of America!!!
LEMONT HONOR 22
VFW POST 5819
Reprinted from www.kidz4troops.com/announcements.cross-of-malta