2012 America's 9/11 Ride to roll through Maryland, Virginia

(Photo: Elvert Barnes/flickr)

A labor of love for hundreds of motorcyclists has once again made its way to the Pentagon to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks.

It was cyclists for miles on Interstate 70, 68 and 66 on Thursday as the three-day 2012 America's 9/11 Ride ran its Maryland and Virginia leg from Hagerstown to Arlington. The event is held to honor those who died in the terror attacks and to support first responders.

Last year's event, which commemorated the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, drew more than 3,000 participants. But while this year's ride has less than 1,000 riders, the tribute is no less emotional.

"I feel like it happened yesterday," participant Dennis Zahorchak, a Manassas man who is riding for the 11th time, said. "It's something I'll never forget, and nobody else should either."

Participants come from all over the East Coast for the ride, which began Thursday with a ceremony at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset, Pa. The riders will go to all three Sept. 11 memorials, concluding their trip with a ceremony and visit to the spot where the World Trade Center towers stood.

For Cleveland residents Terry and David Prescott, the ride is about honoring those who died and those who continue to fight.

"I know what it's like to serve (and) I know what it's like to not have anybody to say thank you," David said. "This is a way of saying thanks."

With American flags flying as they rode through the D.C. metro area, to a person, the riders will tell you that the journey is about the nation's spirit.

"It's about patriotism and it's about everybody coming together for a common goal," Terry said.