Meet the army. But how does that work? That was the question in my mind when I met up with a group of fellow photographers in Paris on Bastille day. The meeting was set at 1:45 pm, long after the parade on Avenue Champs Élysées has ended. When I followed the group to Invalides from our meeting point over Pont Alexandre III to right in front of the hospital for the disabled built by Napolean and later converted to Musee de Armee, I found out what "Meet the Army" was all about. At Invalides, the army showcased it's weaponry and machines for the grand public. The army let the public get into the machines and have a feel of it. The army also interacted with the public patiently answering their queries.
You could see an enthusiastic man pointing a machine gun mounted on an army vehicle.
You could see people climbing on top of the tanks bringing back memories of the post-revolution pictures from the Arab spring.
You could see a soldier demonstrating an ultramodern weapon for the amusement of the onlookers.
There were helicopters parked in the area.
There were also other pictures to be etched for posterity.
There was a young kid operating a swivel gun on trip of a tank with the help of a soldier.
There were soldiers casually strolling by.
A group of boy scouts huddled together cracking jokes after a hard day.