One of the things I've noticed as I've grown older is that events happened in the distant past, counterintuitively seem more recent and pertinent. When i was in high school, it seemed that anything happened before the Kennedy assasination was in a different world. Now I can not only see clearly the ways we're still "fighting the civil war" but, in the current populations of the western Hemishpere, see the results of migration patterns that were laid out in the fifteen hundreds.
This perspective is helpful because it helps remind us that things we now all agree are "unthinkable" like slavery and naziism are really NOT all that far removed from our current era. We're still nowhere near as civilized as we give oursleves credit for.