THE MALTESE CROSS by Kyle Dodd Print


Kyle Dodd

The Maltese Cross is an ancient symbol of honor and courage originating sometime in the 15th century. Whoever the men or women may be that wears it proudly, the way it should be worn, would courageously risk his or her own life for the sake of another. The men and women who wear this symbol now are looked highly upon and called upon by someone daily.

The Maltese Cross has an amazing and very interesting history and evolution. Though many historians have taken a serious interest into the Maltese Cross there have been no concrete date on when and how the eight pointed Maltese Cross was introduced. There were many different variations of this symbol of courage we now know as the Maltese Cross, but the one we know and use today was used by the Knights of St. John sometime in the 1500’s.

This cross has a whole story and list of men behind its importance to the people who wear it now; it is the badge of a firefighter. When the Crusaders known as the Knights of St. John fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to them. It was very simple but yet very powerful and destructive. With this new amazing tool of war came excruciating pain and agonizing death to the brave crusaders for the cross. As the warriors advanced on the walls of the city the Saracens used this new weapon of choice, fire. The Crusaders were struck with bottles filled with naphtha. When they were covered with extremely flammable liquid, the Saracens would then hurl a flaming torch into the front of the Crusaders. Hundreds of Knights were burned alive; but others risked there own lives for the sake if there fallen brothers-in-arms from dying a painful and fiery death.

Thus, these brave men became known as our first fire fighters one in the long list of courageous men and women to wear that title. These men were awarded for there bravery by there fellow crusaders. They were awarded by a badge of honor, a simple cross simile to the one fire fighters wear today. And since the knights of St. John lived four centuries on a small island named Malta, the cross finally found its name, The Maltese Cross.The simple badge of honor is now a symbol of protection. It means the person wearing this is a firefighter who is willing to lay down his ir her own life for someone he may know or to a complete stranger, just as the Knights risked there lives for their fallen comrades hundreds of years ago.

The Maltese Cross is a firefighter’s badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage alone; a ladder’s rung from death.