Sep6WedRetrospective #3 September 6, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
The words “Long and Faithful Service” are inscribed in silver lettering on a blue background wrapped around the Salvation Army Crest overlaid on an ornate fleur-de-lis tipped cross forming a tiny silver medallion which was then attached to a short two-inch ribbon.
The ribbon has a thin yellow stripe down the middle flanked on either side by a much wider red stripe, then a less wide blue stripe and finishing with another almost as wide red stripe. Engraved on the back of the prize was the name of its bearer (having no knowledge of the family, I chose not to reveal it here) and the date it was presented - February 19, 1933. (It’s a forerunner of today’s Long Service bars with stars)
I found one reference concerning one of these Long Service badges being awarded for twenty-five years of active membership back in the 1950’s. If we apply this number (25) to the above and we do the math that means its owner joined the mission in 1908! That’s just twenty-six years after Addie and Ludgate opened fire in London! This medal I now gaze upon with great respect was actually worn by a second generation Canadian pioneer Salvationist! Do I hear a “Hallelujah!?”
Having been a Sally Ann all of my life to date (I’m still here!), interpreting the symbols contained in the above artefact is easy for me to do, with one exception. Why the fleur-de-lis tipped cross? I know that the Fleur-de-lis is recognized internationally as a symbol of France and the French people. I’m Canadian. I get that. I can proudly claim it as part of our rich French heritage. My curiosity piqued however, I am wondering – is there something more about this flower, this lily of which I am unaware? Time to Google!
It turns out that when we make the French connection some historians believe that this symbol was chosen in part to represent the then medieval three-tiered society of France as follows: The first petal representing the Workers; the second petal representing the Fighters; and the third petal for the Pray-ers!
Now, I don’t know if the fleur-de-lis tipped cross in our award was chosen for this purpose or if the artisan was simply wishing to add a little flourish to the design? I do know that it is a marvellous choice! You see, I think it safe to assume that the soldier receiving this recognition, like many Salvationist, and especially having been a member of the avant-garde was: a worker, a fighter, and a pray-er!
Do you know or remember a fleur-de-lis Salvationist?
Do we still have the spirit of our pioneers?