The city of Lynn has ordered a Lynn family to remove a stone and mulch tribute to a 23-year-old loved one who died in February. But family members called the order unfair. (Item Photo / Owen O'Rourke)
LYNN, Mass. (AP) -- Commissioners at a Massachusetts cemetery have said no to profanity on headstones.
Sonny Santiago, 23, was a rapper who died in a car crash in February. Commissioners at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn this week unanimously rejected his family's request to inscribe his gravestone with a song verse that included profanity.
The commission became aware of the language when the company inscribing the 3-foot tall memorial submitted drawings to commissioners.
Pine Grove Cemetery regulations posted online state that "the cemetery office must approve all inscription work on monuments."
"We've never had a problem like this before," commission Chairman Arthur Dulong told The Daily Item of Lynn.
City officials contacted the family about the inscription and they agreed to have the gravestone inscribed with a different, profanity-free verse from a song Santiago wrote, said Santiago's sister-in-law, Angela Ventola.
"Everything got changed," she said. "Those words are not going on."
The commission's dispute with Santiago's family is not over. The family added a 3-foot by 8-foot decoration made from mulch and rocks on his gravesite shaped like the number "1." Uno was his performance name.
The family has been asked to remove the decoration because it does not conform to cemetery rules.
Santiago's mother, Ana DeJesus, said the family will comply with the request - but she's not happy about it.
"I feel like we paid for the spot," she said. "We want to be with him. It's not fair."
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