In a tradition that began a decade ago, African American motorcyclists from across the country rode from a Landover parking lot to the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington in honor of all the people of color who paid the ultimate price for freedom in this country.

Donald A. Thigpen, charter member of the Maryland Chapter of the Buffalo Soldier motorcycle club, said the cyclists arrayed across the parking lot of the Sears in Landover, some of whom had come from as a far as Michigan and Florida, showed how the group had expanded to include 97 chapters across the country. He said a number of the cyclists planned to take part in Rolling Thunder events after the Buffalo Solider tribute.

“I am a Buffalo Soldier with the Maryland mother chapter and we are here today to honor our heroes of the past,” Mason Monroe said. “We ride in honor of the Buffalo Soldiers and we are going to continue this tradition and we are going to make a difference in this community.”

Norman and Lisa Buffalo rode into the District May 27 at part of Buffalo Thunder. (Hamil R, Harris/The Washington Post)

Even though there is no relationship between his name and the group’s Norman Buffalo still feels a since of pride every time the Buffalo Soldiers club — named for black soldiers who served in the Army’s 10th Cavalry Division in the 1800s — rides.

“These soldiers were curly haired men like me who performed their duties, and some died for the salvation of this country,” said Buffalo, whose sentiments were echoed by his wife Lisa. “The Native Americans gave them the name of Buffalo Soldiers.”

Members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle club lead several thousand bikers from Landover to Civil War Memorial in DC to remember historic unit. (Hamil R. Harris/The Washington Post)