Peru’s Independence Day is on July 28th. That day, the President always gives a speech evaluating the previous year and, naturally, promises things and things and more things that citizens forget a week after. On July 29th, we have the National Patriotic Parade, an event in which soldiers, police officers, police dogs, and so on, march on an avenue specially decorated for that day. (Sometimes, there are tanks and military planes too).
Moreover, during the entire month of July, people hoist Peruvian flags at their places (there’s a fine if one doesn’t do it); there is a bunch of patriotic parades everywhere, and most of the workers receive extra money with their normal salaries as an incentive (and, of course, big stores offer great sales to benefit from the consumerism of individuals getting more money than per use).
My school (Colegio Claretiano, which was my primary, middle and high school) organizes a patriotic parade every year. This event always created a really high expectation among my parents. They used to attend the parade and take pictures of me either wearing a costume when I was a kid (traditionally, every grade is assigned a Peruvian department and students have to wear typical costumes of it) or marching with the color guard when I was an adolescent.
(Peruvian flag in the foreground. In the background, students in costumes at the main playground and excited parents on the second floor waiting for the parade to start)
Of course, I’m no longer in high school but I attended this year’s parade last Friday because my dad marched. A group of alumni who finished school between 45 and 55 years ago was invited to specially participate in the parade. And since my dad loved to go to my school to take pictures of me at the parade, it was time for me to reciprocate his love:
(My dad marching and wearing a pink shirt, a red vest, and a sort of purple-ish suit. #classy)
Some people saw my Rebel T3 and thought that I was the professional photographer my school hired to cover the event! So they asked me if I could take pictures either of them or their sons/daughters and how much that would cost. I agreed to take some photos and asked for their email saying the pictures wouldn’t cost anything at all. They were surprised, almost shocked at the beginning, but very thankful when they realized I was not joking.
(A proud grandfather asked me to take a picture of his grandson playing the snare drum for my school’s band)
I spent a lot of time talking with my Literature teacher, Jorge Díaz Saldaña, a sort of symbolic father for me during my school years. I’m quite sure that his passion for Mario Vargas Llosa, the Divine Comedy, and Gregorio Samsa encouraged me to study Spanish and Latin American Literature as an undergrad. So I took a photo of him with his wife who happened to be my Math teacher during my last year of high school:
Finally, just after one of the anonymous people asking for a picture also asked me a hilarious question (“Sir? I see you’re photographing the parade. What year is your son in?”), I ran into two unexpected participants. H&M attended the parade too! And I thought that they were eating hay and apple slices in Bay Village, OH, with their mom and grandparents… O innocent soul!…