Tour the National Donor Memorial
The National Donor Memorial, located on the UNOS grounds in Richmond, Virginia, marked its 20th anniversary on November 20, 2023.
Created in recognition of all organ, eye and tissue donors, the memorial is a place of peace and tranquility for donor families, recipients, living donors, and all those who wish to honor the selfless gift of life .
Guided: Join a UNOS staff member on guided tour of the Memorial, learning how the Memorial was created and exploring the symbolism behind the Memorial’s design. All tours are in English. Please contact us to schedule.
Self-guided: Visitors interested in self-guided tours are welcome seven days a week, daytime and evening hours. Group tours must be scheduled in advance.
The memorial garden: a symbolic journey through loss to renewal
The 10,000 square-foot National Donor Memorial is laid out as three metaphorical “rooms,” symbolizing the emotional process of donation and transplant: the Wall of Tears and Water Garden represent hope, the Butterfly Lawn represents renewal, and the Memorial Grove represents transformation. On the Butterfly Lawn, the Fallen Soldier Donor Memorial offers a tribute to service members who have made organ, eye and tissue donation their last selfless act.
Serving as a setting for quiet reflection, the memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is supported entirely by private donations.
The Wall of Tears
A family’s loss marks the beginning of the journey. At the memorial entrance, water flowing over the words, “friend, wife, son, daughter, mother, sister, husband, brother, father,” symbolizes tears shed by donor families.
The Wall of Names
The central room of the garden contains names of donors, representing the diversity of America’s donors. These named individuals share one special common thread—their generous gift made new life possible for thousands of children and adults. Without them, organ transplantation would not be possible.
The words, “Hope, Renewal, Transformation,” are emblazoned on a bronze medallion on the granite wall. These words, specifically chosen by the committee that created the memorial, are unique to the organ donation process and have special meaning to both recipients and donors.
“This public memorial provides visible recognition of the deeds of our loved ones, a shrine to their memories and a tangible reminder of what they accomplished
—Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., donor husband and father, speaking at the dedication of the National Donor Memorial on November 20, 2003
“Light and openness” describe the portion of the memorial containing plants to attract butterflies, symbolizing renewal of life through transplantation. The evergreen bamboo and “Gift of Life” roses border the lawn.
A row of holly trees leads to the source of water flowing through the memorial. The ripples of water in a fountain, symbolizing the donors’ generosity, have far-reaching effects. This illustrates that the gift of organ donation does not end with an individual recipients.
Fallen Soldier Donor Memorial
The Fallen Soldier Donor Memorial is dedicated in honor of the members of our military, both present and past, here and abroad, who have made organ and tissue donation their last courageous act of service so that others may live long and healthy lives in a free and safe world.
Make a gift to the National Donor Memorial Revitalization Fund
20 years after its inauguration, the National Donor Memorial has sustained damage from general aging, detrimental weathering, and structurally invasive landscape elements. UNOS has launched the National Donor Memorial Revitalization Fund to renew our nation’s memorial garden for organ, eye and tissue donors.
Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $150,000 by making a tax-deductible gift to the fund today. With your support, you are helping to ensure the National Donor Memorial remains a safe, publicly accessible, and peaceful sanctuary for donor families and friends, grateful patients, and public visitors to honor America's selfless donor heroes.