Erected on Oct. 10 for Walker, a 28-year-old veteran found killed in a Colorado hotel room, the headstone is a 7-foot depiction of SpongeBob, the woman’s favorite cartoon character. The smiling figure wears a military uniform, while Walker’s name and rank are carved on it. A second, nearly identical headstone erected for Walker’s twin sister (still living) was also removed.
The cemetery’s president, Gary Freytag, defended the choice, saying an employee made an error in judgment when the design was approved. “We’ve decided that they aren’t appropriate for our historic cemetery and they can’t be displayed here,” he said.
While the cemetery is admitting blame in the situation and has offered to both pay the family for the headstones’ costs and for the costs of new markers, Walker’s sister, Kara, said she didn’t think it was enough. “It is frustrating that you entrust a cemetery to have your best interest at heart and accommodate you and your family at a hard time,” she said. “And because they don’t like it they’re going to take it down.”
The cemetery has proposed a more traditional headstone depicting the popular cartoon character, so it is at least possible that SpongeBob could return.
(Source: Chicago Sun-Times)