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Florida in World War I

Internship Week #15: Not the End

This semester has been an absolute whirlwind and I admit I am thankful it is winding down. This also means my time interning for the project is coming to an end and my goal is to finish wrapping up everything I began this semester. Though, as I have mentioned numerous times, the project does not end with the internship.

As I have said, in this last week I have been wrapping up various aspects of the project that I have been working on throughout the semester. The design of the website I think is set for now, though there is a lot more content to be added. I am currently in the revision process of an encyclopedia entry for the website, which I hope to have posted on the site by the end of this weekend. It is a general overview of shell shock during the war, which I am excited to share as it relates partly to my thesis work. Another item that will grow over the weekend is the Resources page as a number of new resources have been shared with the project. Some of the sources include BackStory Radio broadcasts and ‘The Great War’ channel on YouTube. Both of those sources are excellent. I have not gone through all of the broadcasts and articles on the first, but the ‘The Great War’ channel on YouTube is something I have been watching over a year now and I am always learning something from the episodes produced. With these new sources I am also utilizing Hootsuite, an app/online program that allows you to schedule social media posts, to schedule Twitter posts about these sources. I have learned through my internship to importance social media plays with projects such as this, as well as in general. Twitter has proven to be a great networking resource and a great way to share the project and information gathered.

The final and major aspect of the project is now the journal article. My weekend will be spent finishing up my section of it and then next week the project coordinators and I will be meeting to combine our sections and work on making the article cohesive and ready for submission. With any luck it will be published by the end of the year.

It is certainly a lot to finish wrapping up over the weekend, but I have to say in general, I am happy with the progress made in many areas of the project over the course of the semester.

21/04/2017
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Internship Week #14: Florida National Cemetery & Writing an Article

These last couple of weeks with the Florida in World War I project have been a bit scattered. I have not been entirely focused on one aspect of the project, so I feel as though I have only partially completed things in front of me. As I have said in my previous posts, I feel as though with the time crunch of the semester on me, I want to have so much more done than I do, but I have to keep reminding myself that the project does not end with the semester or my internship. It is on going.

As seen in a previous blog post, myself and three other project coordinators made a trip to the Florida National Cemetery on the centenary of the United States’ entry into the First World War. We were able to take a number of photos that we hope we will be able to post on the Florida in World War I project website. I think too (and I may mentioned this in the post I did after the visit out to the cemetery), it was a great and enlightening experience to have had. One of the goals of this project is to bring to light Florida’s role in the First World War. The aim is to remember that there was a contribution to the war effort. I think going to the cemetery was a reminder, at least for myself, that the war effort, whether from Florida or elsewhere, was done by so many individuals with individual lives and stories.

On another note, my fellow project coordinators and I are also working on a journal article that will hopefully be published in the fall/winter in an academic journal. I am looking forward to not only having an article published, but I think this is a great opportunity for the project, now and for the future. Another goal of the project was to continuously expand and encourage others to do the same. This article will provide that opportunity.

This last week for my internship will be focused on the article, as well as trying to get other aspects of the project complete or running for a time. For example, I am trying to work more no the social media portion, which I have learned in the last several months is key. Twitter is definitely a great connection to others, not just sharing the work this project has done, but also seeing what others have done and are doing.

 

14/04/2017
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Remembering the USA’s Entry into World War I

This last Thursday, April 6th, a small group of us from my department went to Florida National Cemetery for a number of projects, including the Florida in World War I Project. The cemetery, which is in Sumter County, is over 500 acres with over 100,000 internments. The cemetery is vast, pristinely kept, and honors veterans from numerous wars including the First World War.

April 6th marked the one hundred year centenary that the United States officially entered the ‘war to end all wars’. The United States had remained neutral during the first two and a half years; however, for a variety of reasons, President Woodrow Wilson, the man whose presidental reelection campaign centered on his keeping the USA out of war, went to and asked Congress on April 2nd to have the United States declare war on Germany. He argued that the world needed to “be made safe for democracy.” On April 6th, Wilson’s request was answered and the United States officially entered the war it was divided over. There are many debates as to whether or not the United States should have participated in the war, but the reality is whether or not the United States should or should not have entered the war, the United States did enter the war. I am not going to go into that debate or give my argument of what I believe to be the reasons why the United States entered the war. Instead, I want to reflect on my time at the cemetery on that one hundred year cenntenial.

I was honored to be at the cemetery on the centennial of the USA’s entry in the First World War to commemorate those that served. Being there reminded me that the First World War is comprised of so many individuals that sacrificed so much- not just for themselves, but for so many others. It reminded too, that there are still those who do the same now.

Below is a photograph of one of the many monuments/memorials placed in the cemetery. It was incredible to see these monuments/memorials and their dedications. The one below is dedicated to Florida veterans of World War I. The quote on the right side of the monument is from the famous “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. McCrae was a Canadian physician in the war, who died before the end of the war from pneumonia.

When I decided to center my research on the First World War, I was specifically drawn in by how many lives it affected and the ways it affected those lives. Going to the cemetery reminded of how war is comprised of individuals reaffirms how important it is to remember and commemorate. I hope that not only with my research and the Florida in World War I Project helps to remember and commemorate those lives.

Some of the Florida in World War I Project team at the gravesite of World War I army veterans Robert Gerlach; (L-R: Kayla Campana, Dr. Barbara Gannon, Tyler Campbell, Drew Fulcher)

07/04/2017
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Internship Week #12: Going Down the List

There are a number of loose ends that need to be tied up before the end of the semester and beginning of the summer for the Florida in World War I project. This week I have been jumping from one component of the project to another, trying to get done what I can.

First and foremost, the website design itself, I think, is fairly complete (though there will always be room for change and improvement). If you look at the images in the gallery below, you can see the way the website is setup (or feel free to click here to go directly to the website). Essentially, the homepage has a slider on it that rotates various posts and pages we want to highlight. When you go on an individual page or post, it will show you (as seen in the second screencapture) rotating promo boxes. This was a great solution to the lack of color issue that was a concern when the website first began (which you can see in the third photo in the gallery below).

The next item I worked on was the Resources page. The project’s advisor, Dr. Barbara Gannon, presented today at the Society for Military History Annual Meeting on the project. In preperation for that, I sat down with Dr. Gannon and another project coordinator, Tyler Campbell, to get some materials together in anticipation for Dr. Gannon’s presentation, which included getting some resources up. I put up several sources (online resources and books) in order to have something up while I still continue to organize and sort. I think though, whether I figure out a way to sort the sources and organize them where they are easily searchable, I may put up more in the simple format I already have. At least this way there are sources up for those that visit the website.

In addition to the work I mentioned above, I have been working on three research and writing components to the project. The first is my historiography for my internship. The second research and writing component is my encyclopedia entry for the website. The entry is in the form of a fleshed out outline, but should be a fully composed entry by next week. I have decided to use some of the research I presented at the conference I attended in London, specifically how the United States viewed and handled those with shell shock. And thirdly, I am working on an academic journal article that is in the works on the project for publication. I am working with my fellow project coordinators to write about the creation and history of the project, as well as a myriad of components that have sprung from the project including the Soldiers of Florida databases, the website, conference papers and posters (see below for screenshot of the poster that the project presented at the 2016 Graduate Research Forum at UCF), and more.

There is definitely a great deal to work on this upcoming week. Let’s hope for a productive one!

31/03/2017
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