The excitement was palpable among those standing on the Newport Boulevard overpass above Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach on Saturday afternoon.
Not the kind of excitement of say, celebrating Fourth of July, but something not too far off. It was a kind of shared enthusiasm acknowledging that on such a somber day, nine years from when nearly 3,000 people died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania, the nation remembers the fallen and unites.
The small group of about 20 bystanders, about a dozen firefighters and one police officer waited for a crowd larger than theirs to come down Coast Highway, equally united and roaring through Orange County.
They were waiting for participants in The Ride, an annual commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks where hundreds, if not more than 1,000 motorcycle riders gather in Trabuco Canyon and take the coastal route through Newport, Huntington Beach and into Long Beach. Riders joined along the way, others peeled off, but those passing through Newport Beach smiled and waved peace signs and American flags during their heartfelt tour.