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Ogden • Patriotism came in black leather chaps for Ken and Stephanie Falan, who joined more than 1,000 bikers Saturday for a memorial ride marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Before the deep-throated rumble of Harley-Davidson engines began for a three-county procession from Sandy to Ogden, the Falans paid a private tribute to the victims of that fateful day when the World Trade Center collapsed and planes crashed into the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

One by one, they flipped the cards attached to 3,000 flags planted in a field south of Sandy City Hall. Each carried the name of someone killed in the attack: Mets fan Michael Massaroli, firefighter Richard Muldowney, software consultant Nitin Ramesh Parandkan.

"Look at this," said Ken Falan, of Roosevelt. "See what they have done to our country. It takes your breath away."

So Falan straddled his Harley-Davidson on Saturday for a so-called Fire Ride "to show that we still care."

The ride came with a high-profile send-off outside Sandy City Hall, during which officials released 3,000 white balloons into a picturesque blue sky and unveiled a larger-than-life statue of three firefighters raising the flag at ground zero.

"Let us remember the great loss, but also the great hope for the future that came from that day," said former Jazz player Thurl Bailey, who later offered a rendition of "America the Beautiful" as the balloons billowed heavenward. "May we never, ever forget."

Overhead, an eagle circled. And a Life Flight helicopter, swooping over a crowd of hundreds, paused over the field of flags and dipped its nose in salute.

"This is a great day," Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said. "It is a day of remembrance. It is a day of sorrow. But it is also a day of joy."

By early afternoon, the air erupted with the sound of motorcycles. The procession — with fire engines blaring their horns in the lead — headed north toward Ogden.

Two hours later, those same motorcycles rumbled beneath an American flag strung between ladder trucks over Ogden's Washington Avenue. Sirens wailed. Engines revved. And handlebar-mounted flags fluttered by the thousands through a throng of cheering onlookers.

Walter Matjasich, of Sandy, carried three full-size flags in a silver mount behind his bike. He declared it "heart-touching" to see the miles-long parade of memorial riders.

Each of the 1,000-plus attendees paid $25 to participate in the ride — funds that will go toward the Healing Field and America's Fallen Firefighter Memorial, two 9/11-related charities.

Brian Brown, marketing director of Harley-Davidson of Salt Lake City and an organizer of the event, said the memorial ride seemed a "good fit" for a characteristically patriotic biking community.

"Part of what makes America wonderful is what you find when you are riding a motorcycle," he said. "Freedom and a passion for the country."

The ride ended with the unveiling of a monument depicting two firefighters — one standing, the other on his knee — near the Ogden Amphitheater. It will someday become the centerpiece of a larger America's Fallen Firefighter Memorial that will include the names of firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.

"Consecrate these grounds and make them holy," prayed Lynn Davis, a Weber County fire chaplain, "that they may become a place of healing and peace."

For Jill Matjasich, who accompanied her husband, the ride was personal. Her father was a firefighter for three decades in Los Angeles and lost his life because of the health problems that came from it.

"It is such an honor to be a part of this," she said. "How wonderful it is for the sacrifices these soldiers and firefighters have given so we can live free."

Twitter: Stettler_Trib 9/11 observances in Utah

8:30 a.m. • Magna VFW Post 7398 flag raising and gun salute; Magna Copper Park, 8900 W. 2600 South, Magna

Noon-5 p.m. • Patriot Day car show; Layton Hills Mall

1:15-3 p.m. • "Lessons of Tolerance: How to Build Ethical Unity" panel; Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South

2-3:30 p.m. • Wayne McCormack lecture on U.S. foreign policy; Salt Lake City Main Library

3:15-4:45 p.m. • "Strong People Don't Need Strong Leaders: Building Movements from the Bottom Up," Charles Payne lecture; Salt Lake City Main Library

3-4:30 p.m. • Military tribute at the Healing Field; Sandy City Hall, 10000 Centennial Parkway, Sandy

4:30 p.m. • Reading of 9/11 victims' names at the Healing Field

5 p.m. • UVU President Matthew Holland speaking; Provo Seventh-day Adventist Church, 255 S. 700 East, Provo

6 p.m. • Special prayer service; Sandy Ridge Community Church, 1829 E. 10600 South, Sandy

7 p.m. • American Festival Chorus 9/11 commemoration; Kent Concert Hall, Utah State University campus, 1400 Old Main Hill, Logan; for more information

7-8:30 p.m. • "Mapleton Chorale: Memorial"; Maple Mountain High School, 51 N. 2550 East, Spanish Fork