As of 11:27 this morning, my Normandy paper is done. Finished. End of story, for me anyway. Rounding out at 46 pages, including the bibliography, order of battle appendix, list of soldiers appendix and the full body of the paper, I have three copies, neatly stapled, sitting in a folder in front of me, looking nice, crisp and ready to turn in to my professor, President Schneider and Captain Arthur Harrington, whom I interviewed. The very last thing that I'm waiting for is a map that will be printed out in the next fifteen or so minutes that shows the Normandy coastline, the beaches and the relative locations and landing times of each of the soldiers that I researched.
But... it's over. It's kind of hard to believe that, when I was sitting in class, wracked with a cold, raising my hand to take the D-Day project when it was first announced. Then came the hours in the library, searching for references, then up to Jackman hall to look at old records, Archives and Special Collections and finding more things, beginning to type up things, making connections between people and places, cross-referencing sources, beginning the writing, scanning pictures, putting together a powerpoint (which I need to revise for a presentation in two weeks), going over the paper with Professor Lord, and now, it's sitting here, a finished product, as good as I can make it (And there's probably some more that can be done to it, including research on a couple of people who I just added in at the last minute), but that's it for me.
If people are interested, I've been thinking of serializing the paper, section by section up here, if people are interested. Because dammit, if I put all this work into it, I get to be a little vain and want to show it off a bit.
I liked doing this paper. I loved the research, finding things and putting together all the pieces into this larger picture. That's what I want to do with my life. I got such a rush being able to put together something new, something that has never been researched like this, and I'm realising that there's a whole lot more that I could do with this project. I could expand it to further battles beyond D-Day for Norwich alumni, such as St. Lo, the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Market-Garden, the Invasion of North Africa and Italy, and the list goes on and on. Who knows, maybe I'll get to do something more like this.