Originally uploaded by seadipper.
Not having been born in England nor having English ancestors, I always feel uncomfortable about the flag with a red cross on a white background. A vision of St. George at the seige of Antioch during the First Crusade is said to have preceded the defeat of the Saracens and the fall of the city to the crusaders. Richard I placed himself and his army under the protection of St. George during the Third Crusade. He became the patron of England in the late Middle Ages.
The Crusaders were a murderous rabble; the First Crusade was marked by attacks on the Jewish communities of the Rhineland, who had been settled since Roman times, while the Fourth Crusade was disgraced by attacks on the Christian cities of Byzantium, including the Sack of Constantinople in 1204. Nevertheless, the Crusades were a belated response to 350 years of Islamic expansion, under the renewed impetus of the Saracens. This should not be forgotten.