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The Story Behind "Empty Arms" and the National Memorial for the Unborn

January 2006
By: Wendy Williams
On Sanctity of Life Sunday, January 16, 2005, a group of people gathered at the National Memorial for the Unborn in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to worship the Lord and to remember the millions of babies who have died because of abortion. At the end of the service, our new book, Empty Arms, was introduced. The book grew from experiences of people who have visited the memorial.

The National Memorial for the Unborn is located at 6230 Vance Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee, near the airport. The memorial was built in 1993 after a Pro-Life Coalition bought the Chattanooga Abortion Clinic in bankruptcy court. This was an amazing answer to many years of prayers and protests by the group. The clinic was closed, and we opened a crisis pregnancy center in one half of the building. In the other half, where the actual abortions were performed, we bulldozed all but one wall and put up the memorial, which is similar to the Vietnam wall.


The memorial wall is 50 feet long, made of black marble, and covered with small, brass plates. The plates bear names of aborted babies, dates, Scripture verses, and personal messages placed there in memory of those who died. At one end of the wall is a large painting entitled "I'll Hold You in Heaven." Every week, many people visit from as far as Alaska and Canada. They leave toys, notes, flowers, and letters to remember their babies. Our staff holds memorial services with parents who come to place their plaques. Often they include a letter telling us the story of their abortion.

Ann Caldwell and I are both on the board for the Memorial for the Unborn in Chattanooga, and we are privileged to be the co-editors of Empty Arms, which contains a collection of the letters. These letters, written by people who regret their abortions, are in a section titled "Whispers from the Wall." The stories are real; some are hard to read, yet many are coupled with the healing power found only in Jesus Christ. The book also contains the history of the memorial's inception, a selection of poems, and ends with eight stories of foster babies who were adopted into Christian homes in a section entitled "Cries from the Cradle."

This project began seven years ago but was delayed. Last year, we revived it and are thankful to AMG (Advancing the Mission of the Gospel) for publishing the book. The truth needs to be told—abortion does not help women, it harms them. We want to encourage those considering abortion to choose adoption or parenting as the solution for their crisis pregnancy.

We want to offer alternatives that spare women from years of regret. Ann and I feel privileged to share the letters from women who no longer suffer in silence and guilt. We are grateful to the mothers who decided to choose life and are privileged to share their stories as well. These little ones are the survivors of the most deadly holocaust our country has ever known.

The goals of the memorial are to commemorate the unborn who died through abortion and to provide support, alternative solutions, healing, and closure through Jesus Christ. If you are interested in visiting the National Memorial for the Unborn, ordering a plaque, or reading Empty Arms, you can call 800-505-5565 or go to our website at: Empty Arms is also available on

In the past 30 years tens of millions of women experienced an abortion. In our book you can read the stories of some of those who experienced the healing touch of Jesus Christ. As He said in John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." May He be your strength!

Wendy Williams is a board member of the National Memorial for the Unborn and co-editor of Empty Arms.

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