For many military veterans, the cross is not necessarily a Christian symbol, but seen more as a remembrance symbol for those who have lost their lives in the service to their country. (See also Fallen Soldier Cross, Cenotaph and War Memorial Cross.)
The military adornment may be around the cross, sited above, in the centre, or beneath - as with the Skull and Crossbones Cross
The Poppy Cross, for example, is the remembrance symbol of the Royal British Legion, founded after the First World War. The symbol was introduced by Miss Moina Michael, a teacher at the University of Georgia.
The poppy is the colour of blood and the flower's opiate properties lead to deep sleep (death). The short-lived nature of the beautiful flower petals symbolises early death of young men.
The red corn poppy (papaver rhoeas) is a common weed found all over Europe. During the WWI battle at Flanders Fields, the ground was covered in the red of these poppies, and also the red of the blood from many killed and wounded soldiers. The poppy therefore became the symbol of those killed in action, and used in Britain, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and many Commonwealth countries. In 2006, a record 37 million poppies were sold in Britain, raising money for war widows, widowers, orphans and veterans.
The Old Glory Cross is used as a remembrance symbol for fallen U.S. servicemen and women, and also a commercialised general-purpose 'patriotic' cross.
The Marine Corps Cross is typical of many crosses featuring a military badge. In this case the design, derived from the British Royal Marines, includes a crested eagle, a globe, and a foul anchor.
The Catholic War Veterans is an example of potentially confusing nomenclature for those outside the group. The emblem is not representing veterans of a Catholic war, but rather U.S. Catholics who have fought in one of the USA's wars. The wreath on the Celtic Cross is for remembrance of those who died, and the Olive Branch on the cross stem symbolises peace.
And we'll finnish (sic) with the War Veteran Association of Finland.
Sandwiched between its former master of Sweden (12th to 19th centuries) and its later master of Russia (after 1809), Finland's current independence (since 1917) has been considered a treasure worth protecting and defending. Their troops fought hard against the Russians in the Winter War (1939-1940), followed by the Continuation War (1941-44) and the Lapland War (1944-1945).
Since then, the Finnish military has participated in numerous UN peace keeping operations. These have been significant contributions but nowhere near the sacrifices made in the Second World War. It is the 1940s which remain the most poignant memories for Finns, especially now, since very few WWII veterans survive.
The logo of today's Finnish Defence Forces features a lion, symbolising bravery, and a castle tower, symbolising defence. The battlements of the castle tower are reproduced in the logo of an association of veterans, which exists to help former servicemen in the twilight of their lives. This association is called Suomen Sotaveteraaniliitto. Above left, we see their logo added to a cross, resembling a Triumphant Cross but in essence more like a Skull and Crossbones, to honour those veterans who have died since the war.