I watched the Berlin Wall fall. I watched in shock as the Soviet Union ceased to exist and (mostly) peacefully splinter. Two shuttle accidents. The Reagan Revolution. Chernobyl. All these things that are now in history books as abstractions that happened "back then." Hell I remember when my mom finally allowed a TV in the house and it was colour and that was a big deal as the grand parents still had a black and white unit.
A human life is very, very short. We think a decade is a long time, but it is but a twinkle in the eye of time. The USA is only three human lifetimes old, after all.