A SpongeBob Squarepants headstone was erected for a veteran who served two yearlong tours in Iraq in 2006 and 2010. The Cincinnati cemetery originally had approved the headstone for the Walker family, but they recanted and asked that they remove the seven-foot SpongeBob headstone, according to Fox News on Oct. 22.
Kimberly Walker, 28, was an Army corporal assigned to the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion as a petroleum supply specialist. She was found beaten to death in a Colorado hotel room at the beginning of the year. Her boyfriend, who was also in the Army, was arrested and charged with her murder.
The family purchased two SpongeBob gravestones, one for Kimberly and another for her living-twin sister, so she would have a final resting place one day near her sister. The cemetery is now saying the headstones have to go. The reason the family wanted the SpongeBob headstones was because this was Kimberly’s favorite cartoon character.
The cartoon likeness was created in an army uniform with Kimberly’s rank and information on it. Her family had the sister’s headstone, who is in the Navy, with the Navy uniform.
The Spring Grove Cemetery said the employee who gave the Walker’s permission for the headstone was not in a position to do so. It is a traditional cemetery and the tall seven-foot SpongeBob headstones don’t fit in with the rest of the headstones.
The cemetery is meeting with the Walkers and they are prepared to reimburse them for the $26,000 that the headstones cost the family while working with them to find something more appropriate for the surroundings. They suggest a traditional headstone with the character engraved onto the granite.
The family is naturally upset after they were told there would be no problem. Many feel that the headstones should be allowed to stay. Kara Walker, the twin sister of Kimberly said:
"My sister served our country and most people try to accommodate veterans and try to take care of them," she said. "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."
The only way that the cemetery can make it up to the family is to put the headstones back, Kara said. The family prepaid $29,000 for six plots at the cemetery. Kara continued saying:
"They already brought enough grief and pain to the family," she said. "We want what we paid for and what I know my sister would have wanted."