Thousands of motorcyclists from around the country roared into Washington, D.C., Thursday as part of the annual "2 Million Bikers to DC" ride.
The ride and a subsequent rally honor the victims, survivors and first responders of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as members of the armed forces who have sacrificed themselves for the United States.
Early Thursday, bikers gathered in the suburbs before leaving for the District, creating a thunderous rolling convoy on blocked-off routes. They began reaching the National Mall around 11:30 a.m. for an honor rally on the National Mall, which began at 2 p.m. and will end at 8 p.m.
The rally is free and open to the public, who can find it between 12th and 14th streets and Madison and Jefferson drives.
— Kim Welsh (@Scubakim1965) September 11, 2014
"Builds me up," said one motorcyclist at the staging area in Fort Washington, Maryland before leaving for the ride. "Well worth the trip."
Another rider, Vietnam veteran Tom Secor, bought his Honda motorcycle just two weeks ago and rode in from Wisconsin. He said he had "the honor of being part of this group and being just one of thousands of riders that will be here that are honoring those that are no longer with us."
Red, white and blue was on display everywhere -- even on a set of high-heeled boots worn by Amy White.
"I skipped chemo to be here today," she said. "I'm dying of lupus, but I'll rock and roll until I can't go no more."
Before revving up for their ride, each motorcyclist received a name tag displaying the name of at least one person who perished on 9/11. Rider Rebecca Harris of Indiana received the name tag of Edward Calderon.
"God bless him. I mean, it's hard to -- you're going to get us emotional now," Harris said as she teared up. "But God bless him. I don't even know who they are." She reconsidered, then said, "I do know who they are. Right here." Harris touched her hand to her heart.
Around 10:45 a.m., motorcyclists began rolling out from Fort Washington Harley-Davidson along the blocked-off streets heading into the District.
Other riders left from staging areas at Battley Harley-Davidson in Gaithersburg, Maryland; Coleman Power Sports in Falls Church, Virginia, and Patriot Harley-Davidson of Fairfax, Virginia.
Prince George's County Police warned drivers about the riders from Fort Washington. There were some temporary road closures for safety reasons.