Every year there is a campaign from someone somewhere about Saint George's Day. Often it is about making the national day for England a Bank Holiday, or to extend the drinking hours, or, in some cases, to be allowed to fly the English flag as some exuberant councils think it is racist. Yes, really. Bizarre.
So why do we keep George over Edmund or Edward?
George was not only a martyr. He embodied the qualities of a Medieval hero in a way Edmund did not. He was brave - he was a soldier (he became patron saint of archers, cavalry and chivalry) and stood up against the power of a Roman Emperor. That is impressive enough. He gave his wealth to the poor before he was executed and saved the life of a young woman (sometimes portrayed as the Emperor's wife). He helps those suffering from syphilis, leprosy and plague; diseases that traditionally made outcasts of its victims. George was to become a protective giant and caught the imagination of the Medieval peoples.
But the overriding feature George had was the very thing that modern day folk complain about. Unlike the patron saint of Wales, David, George was not born in the country that made him their saint. He was not English. This meant that none of the regions or kingdoms could claim him as their own. No one army could fly his flag independently. There were no local shrines nor special communities.
George served to bring the English people together as no other had before.