| The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
adopted for its symbol the Cross of Malta, which has a heritage of honor, duty, sacrifice
and courage that dates back to the 11th Century.
The Cross has
its origin in the Knights of St. John, a strict order of crusaders, originally founded to
maintain a hospital for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land. From this order evolved two
divisions, the Knights of Templar, famed for their ability to fight, and the Knights
Hospitaler, humanitarians who provided for the sick and distressed.
The Knights established branches throughout Europe and moved their
headquarters to Cyprus. From Cyprus the headquarters was eventually moved to Rhodes in the
14th century and was transferred from there to the island of Malta in the 16th century.
There they became known as the Knights of Malta.
The insignia of the Knights of Malta is basically the same as the one
used today by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It is an 8-point cross formed by four
arrowheads meeting at the points. Each represents one of the Beatitudes taken from Jesus'
Sermon on the Mount. The arrowheads indicate the knights were willing to fight for the
principles of justice and truth although their order was basically a peaceful one.