The Story of the Maltese Cross

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Stephenville Crossing Fire Station Crest, with gold Maltese Cross as background History Of Maltese Cross

The Maltese Cross has long been recognized as a universal mark of distinction and recognition within the Fire Service. The cross exemplifies strength, courage, and dedication. This pendant is a tribute to the men and women, both serving and retired, within the fire service. The member's badge, station number, or other information is engraved into the cross. The pendant is an instant recognition to members of the fire service throughout the world. The Latin Omnes ad Unum ("All Together as One") denotes the true feeling in a profession where unity and commitment are shared by its members.
The insignia of the Fire Service is the Cross Patee-Nowy, otherwise known as the Maltese Cross. This cross represents the fire service ideals of saving lives and extinguishing fires.
The fire service borrows the emblem of the cross from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers), a charitable, non-military organization that existed during the 11th and 12th centuries. A white or silver cross on a dark background was adopted by these Knights or Hospitallers, as they were also known, because of their charity toward the sick and poor in setting up hospices and hospitals. Later, they assisted the Knights of the Crusades (Knights Templar) through their goodwill and also through military assistance in an effort to win back the Holy Land against the Saracrens. The need for an identifiable emblem for the knights had become crucial during combat. Because of the extensive armor which covered their entire bodies and faces, the knights were unable to distinguish friend from foe in battle. They chose the cross of Cavalry as their symbol since they fought their battles for a holy cause. The cross was later called the "Maltese Cross" and represented the principles of charity, loyalty, chivalry, gallantry, generosity to friend and foe, protection of the weak, and dexterity in service.
During the Crusades, many knights became Fire Fighters out of necessity. Their enemies had resorted to throwing glass bombs containing naphtha as the knights advanced upon the walls of the city, When the knights became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled flaming torch into their midst?s. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying a painful and fiery death. Saracens also sailed their war vessels containing naphtha, rosin, sulphur, and flaming oil into the vessels of the knights. Many knights were called to perform heroic deeds by rescuing fellow knights and extinguishing fires. The Knights of St. John eventually moved to the Island of Malta, the island for which the Maltese Cross was named.