Last night, I was near the place I grew up in a medium sized city in Ohio. I recall walking home one night (it would have been the mid 1960's) and looking at the Milkyway. Today, it is impossible to see from the same location due to light pollution. I believe the push to surburia and the creation of large, well-lit, mall parking lots and public areas eventully led to the demise of the Milkyway.
Presently, I live in a more remote location in N.E. Ohio with darker skies but still can not see the Milkyway. It occurs to me that my 18 year old daughter has NEVER seen the Milkyway in her entire life! A few years back in upstate New York, we were retiurning from a wedding and the Milkyway was brilliant and beautiful. Unfortunately, she had fallen fast asleep and missed the display.
Isn't it sad that, perhaps, several generations of young people are growing up having never experienced its awe inspiring beauty?