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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When Did I Realize I Wanted to Study History?

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Recently I was asked the question of when did I realize I wanted to study history. I thought about the question for a time. My first thought was I realized in my second year of community college. At the time I was a psychology major and instead of getting the most out of my psychology courses, I was more drawn to my humanities and history classes. So, I switched to History. But I do not think that is when I realized I wanted to study history. I think I knew very early in life, but was not necessarily fully aware of my want to study history. But it is ironic that I was asked this question in the last few days, as the answer to this question sunk 105 years ago today.

Prior to the 1997 blockbuster hit Titanic, I remember seeing bits and pieces about the famous shipwreck on the news. Between 1987 and 1996, thousands of items from the wreckage were recovered. The stories centered on these excavations, more specifically on the debates that ensued. The main questions were: Was taking items from the site of Titanic’s final resting place, the resting place of so many lives, grave robbing? Or, was recovering the items a way of preserving history? My young mind was perplexed by this debate to say the least. I think on some level I was too young to grasp the debate fully, but I was really enthralled by it, especially by how much people cared about something that happened, at the time, 70+ years ago.

After the film came out in 1997, the artifacts from the wreck were organized into a traveling exhibit, “Titanic: The Experience.” Living in New Jersey at the time, I saw the exhibit in 1999 when it was at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City. It really was, as the exhibit was called, an experience. There was something very powerful about it- even at such a young age I felt it. What I remember most from walking through the expansive exhibit was the intense fascination I had with the individual stories behind the physical artifacts. One item I remember from the exhibit was a name bracelet that said “Amy.” Having been nearly twenty years since being in the exhibit, I do not recall what the signs read word for word, but I do recall that the bracelet’s owner was not positively identified. There were some on board the ship that had names that could be linked to the nickname Amy, or there were some passengers with the middle name Amy, but there was not a confirmation of which passenger the bracelet belonged to. I cannot say whether or not the bracelet’s owner has been identified in the last twenty or so years, but that bracelet was such a source of intrigue. It was not so much the physical bracelet itself that I was captured by, but the fact that it belonged to a person. A living, breathing person. One who may or may not have lived or died on April 14th, 1912.

I wanted to know more after I left the exhibit. Mind you, the Internet was not what it is like today, so learning about the ship and the people on it that way was somewhat limiting, at least for a small kid between the ages of 6 and 8. So, my main source of knowledge was books. And let me tell you, I read a lot of books about that ship and the people on it. But circling back to the question: when did I realize I wanted to study history? I cannot say that I knew between the ages of 6 and 8 (and beyond) that when “I grew up” I wanted to study history; but I would argue I was certainly influenced at that young age by the debate, by the exhibit, by the books- and that influence, along with other factors, put me on a metaphorical road to knowing that I wanted to study history.

(Featured Photograph Credit: Click Here)

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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