Grieving father sues cemetery in hopes of retaining shrine to his late son

The man’s grief for his lost son is as boundless as all outdoors. So say other mourners at Standing Rock Cemetery, in Kent, Ohio, is the shrine he has built over his son’s grave. Some complained to the city, which owns the cemetery. Officials in turn asked the father, Fred Molai, to remove the display. Now the case is headed to court.

NBC affiliate WKYC interviewed Molai, whose son died in a rafting accident in 2011 at the age of 23. “I come here visit him every morning,” Molai says in the video that follows:

I’ve been here 971 days in a row, and Adam has been gone 1045 days. I keep tab of it every day because every day goes by I’m closer to him.

At first, Molai felt compelled to add a flower bed around the gravesite. Then came the 6-foot-high posts, each supporting a large portrait of his son, a Navy veteran.

Then came the complaints.

I have received a letter from them [the city] that they want me to lower the picture down.

There is no height limit in Standing Rock, and I don’t believe that I violated any rules. I don’t believe that I’ve done enough. There is no limit what you should do for your child. And the love that I got for Adam, it’s so deep. And I really don’t believe I’ve done enough for him.

While many empathize with Molai, some say he has crossed a line. Neighbor Richard Rericha says:

My heart goes out to him it really does. If everybody did these huge displays like this you would not have any visibility for anything.

To see what exactly, Rericha doesn’t say. As the WKYC reporter notes, there are structures in the cemetery that reach higher than Molai’s tribute. And it’s not as though the grieving father plans to add moving parts or a musical track to his shrine. At least if he does, he hasn’t said so.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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