What better way to pay tribute to a fallen soldier than with a seven-foot-tall SpongeBob SquarePants...

Sgt. Kimberly Walker, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, loved SpongeBob SquarePants. Not so surprising – lots of young people do, even those who are a little older than the average Nickelodeon viewing age.

When Walker was killed in February 2013 at 28, her family wanted to do something very special to remember their beloved soldier.

Their answer? A seven-foot-tall SpongeBob SquarePants, carved in stone, wearing an Army uniform. A companion monument was created for Walker's still-living twin sister, Kara, wearing a Navy uniform to reflect Kara's service.

Knowing their ideas for monuments were more than a little non-traditional, Walker's family checked with the cemetery. Their plans for the headstones were approved.

But when the stones arrived and were installed, the cemetery balked, saying that the design did not fit within their guidelines, and the employee who approved them had been mistaken. The cemetery offered to revise the plan for Kimberly's and Kara's monuments, at no cost to the family.

But that's not what the family wants. They've fallen in love with the monuments they've already created, and they think their tribute to a fallen soldier and a beloved daughter should be allowed to remain.

UPDATE: One year after Kimberly's death, the cemetery agreed to install the SpongeBob monuments. In a statement released to WLWT, the cemetery said, “Spring Grove Cemetery apologizes to the Walker family. Our personnel oversaw the design and installed the SpongeBob monuments and then had them removed when concerns were raised by others. We deeply regret the distress this caused the family. We have worked hard to remedy the problem and appreciate the cooperation we received from the family during this process.” 

Through their attorney, the Walkers said they were pleased with the cemetery’s apology. “The peace the family can now enjoy at Kimberly’s graveside on the beautiful grounds of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery will help them find the strength to endure the upcoming trial of the man accused in her death,” the Walker’s statement said.