The tragic story of Army Sergeant Kimberly Walker who survived two tours of duty in Iraq only to be murdered back home in Cincinnati allegedly by her boyfriend just took an even worse turn. The tombstone her family had specially made for her is being removed from her grave site by the cemetery because they feel it doesn't fit within their guidelines.
Walker loved SpongeBob SquarePants -- she had SpongeBob-themed birthday parties and tons of SpongeBob items around her house. The family asked Spring Grove Cemetery for permission for the SpongeBob monuments and they said yes. Then the cemetery changed their mind.
The Walker family spent $26,000 on two SpongeBob monuments, but this isn't about the money. It's about respect. Still, that's a large sum to have spent only to be told the monuments cannot be used. They are both a little over 6 feet tall and weigh around 7,000 pounds each. One SpongeBob is wearing an Army uniform to honor Kimberly, and the other is in a Navy uniform to honor Kara, the slain sergeant's twin sister, still living, and who is an IT specialist with the Navy. The family even has a contract from the cemetery saying the monuments were allowed. They got the all-clear. But something went wrong.
Once they were made and arrived at the grave site, the cemetery changed their mind. Spring Grove Cemetery's president told WLWT, "The family chose a design with the guidance of a Spring Grove employee who unfortunately made an error in judgment. The monument does not fit within Spring Grove Cemetery guidelines, was not approved by senior management, and cannot remain here."
I cannot imagine how devastating that must feel. Walker's mother described it as "heartbreaking" and that she was just "trying to honor (her daughter's) wishes." They are communicating with the cemetery in hopes to come to an agreement and the cemetery has said they would pay for a new monument. Still, why bring added grief and stress upon a family dealing with the unthinkable? One of our nation's heroes loves SpongeBob -- why can't her burial place allow her to have something she loved at her grave site? It's just SpongeBob. Are we too uptight to have something whimsical like this at a burial ground? If anything, it would bring a smile or a laugh to people who saw it. Allow people to remember what life is about in a place that is about death. Maybe they would stop and read about Kimberly and her accomplishments, take a moment to reflect on her life. I think it should stay.
What do you think of the cemetery not allowing the SpongeBob memorials? Should they be allowed? Why or why not?
Image via WLWT