Once upon a time, — as all good fairy tales begin — not too long ago, there was a wonderful place. Almost everyone knew about this place. People came from far and wide to visit it. Many who had heard about it or visited it decided they wanted to stay forever! There was something almost magical about it.
It was beautiful. It had majestic mountains and emerald green valleys. Oceans and rivers, lakes and bays teeming with fish, and skies filled with birds. There were deserts and forests and beaches. Places where children could play and adults could raise families. There were big cities with skyscrapers and small towns with village squares.
There were all kinds of people. So many colors, languages, customs and foods! A ‘melting pot’ some may have called it.
It was not a perfect place, but its inhabitants believed that if they worked hard and worked together, they could make it better. There would be no finer place to live!
When the children, who were amazed by such beautiful pictures, asked their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers what had happened to such a place, the response was made with great sadness.
People stopped taking care of it. There was smoke in the skies and poison in the waterways. People neglected their animals; they let their cities and towns crumble. Fighting and violence among citizens increased. After a time there was no more peace, no more beauty. Those who visited no longer wanted to stay. Those who remained to call this place home were angry and mournful.
The children were upset by this discovery. They cried. They could not understand why anyone would do such a thing, especially not to a place claiming to be so great. All that remained were pictures and the stories they were told, while the parents and grandparents were left with the memories and a few precious possessions of a time long gone.