When I was born in 1953, the Korean War was still raging, World War Two had ended a scant 8 years before and World War One had ended just 35 years before.
When I was 8 years old, we commemorated the centennial of the attack on Fort Sumter in 1861.
Now I am 61 years old, we are about to commemorate the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo. I'm finding it hard to get my head around the fact that World War One began 100 years ago this year.
Viewed in another way, someone who had been 22 in 1914 (and a soldier in the Great War) would have been 61 when I was born.
My grandfather was a veteran of World War One.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that World War One doesn't seem that long ago to me. In historical terms it was practically yesterday. But to many Americans nowadays, World War One is as real to them as the American Civil War. It was far too long ago to care about.
Yet the repercussions of WWI still echo to this day.
Both France and Great Britain had been weakened to the point where they felt that they could not stand against Hitler. Which led to World War II.
Which led to Eastern Europe falling under the crushing weight of Communism.
Which led to the Cold War.
Which led to China going Communist.
Which led to the Korean War.
Which led to Vietnam.
The wars in the Middle East are a direct result of World War One.
Lines drawn on maps with no regard to the peoples who lived there.
Lines drawn by politicians with secret agendas and a "we know best" attitude.
The assassination of the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire opened a Pandora's box of horrors which we have not seen the end of yet.
One hundred years later...
What have we learned?