The family of Iraq war veteran Kimberly Walker was hoping to honor the corporal's memory with 6-foot-tall SpongeBob SquarePants headstones that were erected in Spring Grove Cemetery on Oct. 10. But officials from the Cincinnati cemetery have decided the headstones are unsuitable for the historic grounds they reside on, and removed them the following day.
Walker's SpongeBob headstone depicts the character dressed in an Army uniform and cost $13,000 to make. The family also installed a matching SpongeBob headstone in a Navy uniform for Walker's twin sister who works as an IT specialist for the Navy.
"We've decided that they aren't appropriate for our historic cemetery and they can't be displayed here," the cemetery president, Gary Freytag told WTOP Monday.
"The monument does not fit within Spring Grove Cemetery guidelines, was not approved by senior management and cannot remain here," Freytag said to CNN.
The president has admitted it was the cemetery's fault due to a cemetery representative who gave the family the go-ahead to create the monuments. Freytag is scheduled to meet with the family Tuesday to discuss other options. But the family is disheartened by the situation.
According to Kimberly Walker's family, she was obsessed with the cartoon character. It was reported that she was buried with her SpongeBob pillow. The family hoped to honor her memory with the character she had loved so much.
"It was just heartbreaking," Deborah Walker told CNN. "I just felt we were just trying to honor her wishes."
Kara Walker, Kimberly's twin sister stationed in Naples, Italy, said that she is frustrated by the way the cemetery has handled the situation and that the cemetery ought to allow the headstones on the six plots her family pre-paid for.
"They already brought enough grief and pain to the family," she said according to WTOP. "We want what we paid for and what I know my sister would have wanted."