October 26, 2022

9/11 Spartan Sword and FDNY Axe on display at Vet Fest this weekend

2.1 min read| Published On: October 26th, 2022|

By Cindy Peterson

9/11 Spartan Sword and FDNY Axe on display at Vet Fest this weekend

2.1 min read| Published On: October 26th, 2022| 0 Comments|

Vet Fest of Lake County returns this weekend with some new surprises, including a change of venue. Formerly held in Eustis, the annual Vet Fest Gala will be held at the Venetian Center in Leesburg on Friday night and the main festival will move to Gator Harley-Davidson on Saturday. 

The festival will feature the return of the moving walls, both the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and the Global War on Terrorism Memorial wall, but this year it will include a display of the Spartan Sword and FDNY Axe.

“The moving walls will not be the only moving element in this years event,” event organizer Keith Totten says. “This year’s 4th Annual Vet Fest Lake County event will bring a historic element to the table, literally. The Spartan Sword and the 9/11 FDNY Axe, both forged by metal collected from the Twin Towers on that day by the New York Firefighters, will be there.”

The Spartan Sword was a collaboration in part by Iraq War Veteran Boone Cutler, who will be the featured speaker at the Friday night gala and present at the festival on Saturday. 

“Boone is the Spartan Pledge creator and a medically retired US Army combat veteran,” Keith says. “His vision is to give our veterans a mission. Taking of the pledge is like an oath to your battle buddy, that you’ll reach out to them if ever times get tougher.” 

The Spartan Pledge is a “short, yet profound oath where veterans make the promise to never commit suicide.” The pledge became apart of the veteran community so much that retired FDNY Danny Prince heard of it and contacted Boone personally. Danny and fellow FDNY firefighter Aaron Clark will be escorting the Spartan Sword and FDNY Axe to the festival.

“The sword becomes more than the oath when you come in contact with it,” Keith says.  “It can become emotional, it’s a part of history that many that watched unfold from televisions and for others, the forged metal symbolizes the post 9/11 actions.”

Saturday’s festival begins with an escorted motorcycle ride from the Amvets Post 1992, 32201 Amvets Way in Mount Dora, to Gatory Harley-Davidson, 1745 US Hwy 441 in Leesburg. Registration is $20 per person. Kick stands up at 10:30 a.m. 

The moving walls will be up by 10 a.m. and the opening ceremony will begin at noon. They will stay on display until 5 p.m. Local vendors and live music will also be set up. There is no charge for the event or to see the moving walls, Spartan Sword or the FDNY Axe.

“We’ve grown in numbers this year alone,” Keith says. “Other local veteran organizations joined forces including Amvets Post 1992, Villagers for Veterans, Firefighters Charity of Central Florida and Sea 2 Sea 4 PTSD.  With these veteran organizations, it’s a privilege to help provide an event that honors our veterans to this degree, their families and our community which support them year round.” 

For a schedule events, visit www.VetFestLakeCounty.org

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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