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 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.

 


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VFW 1998 . Created by Lynn - Last Updated 29 Dec 2001

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