'Sami Swings' – Louisville, Kentucky - Atlas Obscura

'Sami Swings'

Unique and somewhat surreal, this little girl's memorial depicts a playful Jesus. 


Cave Hill Cemetery is famous as home to the graves of Muhammad Ali, Colonel Sanders, and Mr. Magic, but there is also a unique memorial dedicated to a little girl named Samantha Ann “Sami” McDonald.

The faithful McDonald family was struck by a tragedy on May 2, 2006, when a three-year-old Sami accidentally rode her tricycle into the family pool. Her tombstone was installed in Cave Hill Cemetery, with a life-size bronze sculpture of her riding a swing, the ropes supported by none other than Jesus Christ. Created by Maine sculptor Tom White, the artwork is officially titled “Sami Swings.”

The last time her family saw her alive, she was swinging and singing her favorite song, “Jesus Loves Me,” whose words are engraved on the sculpture alongside the outline handprints of her, her brother, and sister, and her signature with a smiley face drawn in the middle of the “a.”

It is a touching tribute that is somewhat surreal—but otherwise undeniably unique and unusual. 

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November 3, 2023

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