The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of honor with a story hundreds of years old. It originated from the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who used the Christian cross as a badge on their shields. 

When this courageous band of crusaders fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but horrible device of war. It brought pain and death upon the brave fighters for the cross.

As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens would hurl a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.

Thus, these men became our first Fire Fighters and the first of a long list of courageous men. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one fire fighters wear today. The cross of Saint Florian is also used by firefighters and often confused with the Maltese cross.  Although the Saint Florian cross may have eight or more points, the difference is that it also has large curved arcs between the points. 

Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross. The Maltese Cross is our symbol of protection. It means that the Fire Fighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a Fire Fighter's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage - a ladder's rung away from death.

 Joseph Ellul, LifePath inventor, is of Maltese descent, destined to help save lives.


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