|The badge of a fireman is the Cross
Pattee-Nowy, otherwise known as the Maltese
Cross. This Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a
badge of honor. Its story is hundreds of years old. It
can be seen below the links on the left.
When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of
St. John of Jerusalem, 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
of Hospitallers, as they were also known, because of their
charity toward the sick and poor in setting up hospices and
hospitals, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land,
they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It
was a simple, but a horrible device of war, it 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 by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became
saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled
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 firemen and the first of a long
list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were
recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each here a badge of
honor - a cross similar to the one firemen 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
came to be known as the Maltese Cross and represented the
principles of charity, loyalty, chivalry, gallantry,
generosities to friend and foe, protection of the weak, and
dexterity in service.
The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. It means that
the fireman 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 fireman's
badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage - a ladder
rung away from death.