The Veterans of Foreign Wars of The United States of America adopted the Cross of Malta for its symbol because it has has a heritage of honor, duty, sacrifice and courage dating back to the 11th Century.
The Cross originated in the Knights of St. John, a strict order of crusaders founded to maintain a hospital for pilgrims going to the Holy Land. The order evolved into two divisions: Knights Templar – famed for their ability to fight; and Knights Hospitaler, humanitarians providing for the sick and distressed.
The Knights established branches throughout Europe and moved their headquarters from Cyprus to Rhodes to Malta. In the 16th Century they became known as the Knights of Malta.
The Knight’s insignia was basically the same as that used by VFW. It is an 8-pointed cross formed by four arrowheads meeting at the points. Each represents one of the Beatitudes taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The arrowheads indicated the
knights were willing to fight for the principles of justice and truth although their order was basically a peaceful one.
This outlook is similar to that of the VFW, devoted to peace but comprised of men who
have fought and are willing to fight again, for those principles which embody the individual liberties and dignities of men.