Creation of film desecrates memory of dead, says writer

EDITOR’S NOTE-This letter was sent last week to Shirley Harasym of Sudbury following the January 18, 2012 issue of The Manitoulin Expositor and is a response to the Page 3 story, ‘Documentary to look at 1970 car crash.’ It was sent by Joyce White of Manitowaning, sister of Kathleen Harasym also of Manitowaning, the last surviving parent of a Manitowaning-area child who perished as one of the nine youth fatalities in a two-car crash on March 28, 1970. The sisters with to make a public appeal for closure on the subject and so the letter is printed here at their request.

Dear Shirley:

In reply to your letter of January 14, 2012 and also to the article in The Expositor this week about the project you and your daughter have undertaken, I have to tell you I was appalled to think this terrible tragedy was being reopened again. I feel that the members of the families involved have suffered enough and it is time the whole thing was put to rest.

I can not help but equate what you are doing to the sinking of the Titanic where the memory of all those who lost their lives was desecrated by making it into a film to be used for public entertainment and amusement, not to mention the monetary aspect. Many people still cannot watch that movie out of respect for those who died.

When this accident happened on March 28, 1970 the people of Manitowaning and for miles around were in deep shock at this horrific event. The families grieved and mourned together. Their loss was so great it seemed insurmountable. Then very slowly with God’s help and the support they drew from each other, they slowly began down the road of healing. It has been a long and difficult path, but of one thing you can be sure, the memory of their loved one will never be forgotten. It is embedded in their hearts and minds forever, and it does not need to be documented. Forty-two years is a long time, surely it is time to let it go and give them closure.

I am sure your intentions were good and it was not your intent to inflict more pain upon these families, however what you are attempting to do is something that should have been done forty years ago. Too much time has lapsed now. Also in regards to you using this material as an educational tool to discourage impaired driving, once again it is not current enough to have much impact today.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my views. Perhaps it will help you to understand why we cannot support your endeavor.


Joyce White