It was inevitable.  The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced this week that "The Greatest Show on Earth" will be no more. The final show will be held in Uniondale, New York (Long Island) on May 21 ending a 146 year run.

Anyone who has ever gone to the circus as a kid always remembers that day of watching the clowns, the trapeze acts, the lions and of course, the elephants. I remember my visit as a kid to Madison Square Garden in New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. For me the elephants made the biggest impression that day.

I remember getting a small flashlight on a necklace and I also got a bag of those orange candy "peanuts" to eat. But when I think back about that circus visit, it is still the elephants that come to mind. It is something every kid should get to do at least once. Unfortunately after May 21, that chance will no longer be available.

A year ago when I heard the news that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that they planned to retire the big Asian elephants for good, it sent a red flag up for the future of the circus as an American staple. It didn't take long after that.

The complaint with the circus is the way they treat the elephants, a complaint supported by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. Repeated lawsuits against the circus have all been proven wrong in court, but the circus people are just tired of having to defend themselves and therefore made the decision to end using elephants in their circus act.

A total of 11 elephants took part in their last shows a year ago and those elephants joined about 30 other elephants at the Ringling Brother's Center for Elephant Conservation, a 200-acre facility that hosts the largest Asian elephant herd in the Western Hemisphere.

It wasn't just the loss of the elephants that led to the demise of the circus. The entertainment values of people have changed over the years and the lure of the "Greatest Show on Earth" just wasn't as strong anymore.

For those people in Quincy who would go out behind the Quincy Mall and watch the elephants set up the tents for the circus, they saw quite an act even before the circus started.. It was quite a process to watch. It is a shame that you and your kids won't ever get to see that again.  At least we have memories.


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