The VFW logo; The Cross of Malta; has the Great Seal of the United States encircled by the title, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The entire seal and title rests atop an eight-pointed Maltese cross. The golden rays of the Sun extend between the cross. The sun’s rays, the Cross, the Seal, and the title together symbolize the oaths, purpose and character of the men and women who at one time traveled far from their homes and steered into danger in the name of country and freedom.
The logo denotes the nature of the organization: American Combat Veterans of Foreign Wars engaged in fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational activities.
The background of the VFW logo draws on the particularly symbolic Maltese cross, which enjoys a rich history that dates back nearly 1,000 years.
The original cross of Malta dates to the High Middle Ages and was used by the Knights Hospitaller who traveled far from their homes to the Middle East to fight for their faith. The knights represented all walks of life and regardless of their differences, they were united by their vows and their order. They fought their enemies, assisted pilgrims to the Holy Land, administered to the sick the needy and to the poor. In those times, the Knights Hospitaller adopted the Cross of Malta as their insignia.
Over the centuries, the meaning of the eight points on the cross has come to have multiple meanings. For the Knights Hospitaller, the eight points symbolized the eight obligations or aspirations of the knights. The Order of Saint John (in German, the Johanniterorden) and the Venerable Order of St John teaches that the eight points of the cross represent the eight Beatitudes.
In modern times, the Venerable Order of St John’s main service organization, St John Ambulance, has also applied a parallel secular meanings to the points as representing the traits of a good first aider.
The VFW logo embraces and acknowledges a continuing brother and sisterhood of soldiers who have fought on foreign soils since antiquity and modernizes it to focus on the core tenets that are central to its American members: democracy, freedom and justice represented by the Great Seal of the United States of America and given life by the members.