Running a cemetery has got to be pretty difficult. On the one hand, it’s your job to honor the wishes of the dead. On the other, sometimes the dead wish to be buried with headstones that depict a 7-foot SpongeBob SquarePants, which may not sit too well with the families of everyone else buried there.
That’s where the owners of the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati find themselves this week. The family of Iraq war veteran Kimberly Walker has gone public with its story of the cemetery's decision to remove her headstone, which depicts her favorite cartoon character, SpongeBob, in an Army uniform with Walker’s name and rank.
The headstone went up Oct. 10, eight months after Walker, 28, was found killed in a Colorado hotel room. A day later, the family says, the cemetery opted to take it down along with one very similar to it, placed for Walker’s living twin sister, despite giving prior approval to the designs.
"We've decided that they aren't appropriate for our historic cemetery and they can't be displayed here,” cemetery President Grey Freytag told USA Today
. Spring Grove maintains a stately appearance, and the employee who approved the headstones made a lapse in judgment, he said.
Freytag added he hopes the cemetery and the Walker family can “come out at the other end of the tunnel with a solution.” Spring Grove will reportedly reimburse the family for the headstones.
The family is not interested in compromising, however. The Walkers paid $29,000 for six plots at Spring Grove, and they want their SpongeBobs back.
"My sister served our country, and most people try to accommodate veterans and try to take care of them," said Kimberly Walker’s twin sister, Sara Walker, who is an information technician for the Navy. “For them not to accommodate and respect what my sister sacrificed, not only for my family, but for everyone else in this country, really bothers me."
Is there any solution for Spring Grove that doesn’t end with the SpongeBob headstones going back up?
(Image via WLWT