As a retired history teacher, I recall that each year, my most challenging goal was to instill in my students an appreciation for the importance of the past. "The present," I opined, "is really the past in the process of creating the future." If my words failed to inspire, I would introduce students to the thoughts of great authors like William Faulkner who wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." But alas, I fear that even the world's most profound thinkers, past or present, would have great difficulty convincing eighth graders that there is any value in the study of history! Perhaps many Americans feel the same today.