The Origin of The Maltese Cross

The Maltese Cross is a Firefighter's badge of honor, signifying that he or she works with courage and distinction ... a ladder rung away from death.

Hundreds of years ago a 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 ... a simple, yet horrible device of war that 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 with glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled flaming torches into their mist.  Hundreds of Knights were burned alive. Others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths. Thus these men became the first Firefighters of a long list of courageous Firefighters.

Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow Crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one Firefighters 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 became known as the Maltese Cross.

Collierville Fire Department:
 1251 Peterson Lake Road, Collierville, TN 38017 | (901) 457-2400 | Emergency: 9-1-1

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