Amid a colorful ceremony Wednesday, the flags for Walter Reed Army Medical Center were symbolically cased, marking the closure of the Army’s flagship hospital where hundreds of thousands of the nation’s war wounded have received care since 1909.
With the hospital’s actual closing scheduled for September, officials are preparing to move its operations in August to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and a new hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va., reported the New York Times. Patients will be moved in ambulances, with a deadline for moving all patients by Aug. 31.
During the ceremony, Army Maj. Gen. Carla Hawley-Rowland, head of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, handed over Walter Reed’s saber to Navy Rear Adm. Matthew Nathan, who will be the first commander of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda.
The State Department and the District of Columbia are slated to take over the historic, 113-acre site in northwest Washington. The city is expected to develop its section for retail and other uses.