Wednesday, September 16, 2015

World War Wednesdays: FIRST BLOGIVERSARY!!!

     You heard me! I've officially been cranking out my weekly historical ramblings FOR A WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. For some reason it's actually oddly emotional to think that I've been able to do something I love for a whole year, and every day I'm amazed at where it's taken me. Looking back on the last 365 days is bittersweet in a lot of ways, but this blog has always been one of the sweetest parts. Even when it seems like I've run out of things to bore you with write about, life has a way of throwing me these tiny little threads of inspiration and I end up learning more than I ever thought possible. I know I've mentioned this before, but I think it's so amazing and surprising that I could have set out 365 days ago to write something about the world wars every single week, and I probably haven't even put a dent in the topics that are available.

     Since I've kept this blog personal as well as informative, it's actually been a great way to map my growth as an historian as well as (at times) a sort of public diary. I thought it would be interesting to look back on the past year's posts to see how much has been experienced, discussed, and learned. If you've been with me from the beginning, it'll be a trip down memory lane, and if you're new it'll be a good catch-up! (All of these posts are available to revisit if you click on the corresponding months to the right).

Fall 2014
    My first few posts were from some experiences that I had at the beginning of my second year at uOttawa which in hindsight were some pretty pivotal moments. After a Facebook post on the anniversary of Canada's entry into WWII sparked some sharing, I realized the significance of personal connections to the greater events in our history. Meeting historian Martin Middlebrook and hearing him speak on WWI soldiers was an incredible reinforcement of my values as an historian who cares about what has been said just as much as what is being said. During the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War I had the opportunity to interview Canadian War Museum acting director of research Dr. Andrew Burtch, which illuminated the legacies left behind by the first global conflict in human history. A return trip to the War Museum prompted a post on one of my favorite pieces in its collection, the little bear from WWI.
Then, in October, the entire country was shaken to its core by the brutal slaying of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The events of that day and the ones that followed are still as fresh in my mind as when they happened, and that week's post is probably my favorite from the year. Then came Remembrance Day in Ottawa, which was made even more meaningful and emotional.

Winter 2014
      Posts from this period were extensions of the development of my own areas of interest thanks to some truly great classes and professors. I wrote about film, selected topics in Canadian history, and scratched the surface of what I now hope to be my Master's thesis topic, the Bombing and Gunnery School at Fingal, Ontario. I also had a memorable experience at the Fighting at Flanders: Gas. Mud. Memory. exhibit at the Canadian War Museum.

Spring 2015
     Things got a bit more personal in the spring when History People Problems started identifying themselves, and the topics took a turn for the local (Elgin County, Ontario, and area). My most popular post to date happened in April: "Panic in Port Stanley: The Loss of the Olga, 1944", which had 228 views!

Summer 2015 to Present
     Through the summer and up until now I still write about whatever interesting war-related stories find their way into my life, with some brief interludes of History People Problems and commemorative anniversary posts. Now that I'm starting my third year, the learning and experiences continue, and I can't wait to see what I'll have to reflect on a year from now!

     A huge thanks to all of you who follow these posts and care about history as much as I do. It's been a remarkable year and having people read all about it makes everything so much better. I also owe some major gratitude to Backus-Page House Cultural Manager Angela Bobier for making it all possible!
               Thanks for reading,

P.S. Please check out my new historical Twitter account to stay in the loop, @DLeitchHistory 

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