Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another sad day for America...

Below is a Washington Post staff/wire service report on the ceremony to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center. If you served in the U.S. Army, and were wounded, there's a good chacne you went through WRAH. That facility will soon be a thing of the past, consolidating in Bethesda.
I'm sure it's all for the budgetary betterment of active soldiers, but a piece of American history will go by the wayside.
Walter Reed holds closing ceremony
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army’s flagship hospital where privates to presidents have gone for care, lowered its unit flags today, readying for an actual closing in September after more than a century.
Army parachutists landed with pinpoint accuracy on the front lawn of the storied medical center, minutes after a formal ceremony in which Army Maj. Gen. Carla G. 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.
“This BRAC (Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission) has been painfully difficult at times, but it’s given us a chance to shape the future of military medicine,” Hawley-Rowland said.
Hundreds of thousands of the nation’s war wounded, from World War I to today, have received treatment at Walter Reed, including 18,000 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Dwight D. Eisenhower died there. So did Gens. John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur.
It’s where countless celebrities, from Bob Hope to quarterback Tom Brady, have stopped by to show their respect to the wounded. Through the use of medical diplomacy, the center also has tended to foreign leaders.
The storied hospital, which opened in 1909, was scarred by a 2007 scandal about substandard living conditions on its grounds for wounded troops in outpatient care and the red tape they faced. It led to improved care for the wounded, at Walter Reed and throughout the military. By then, however, plans were moving forward to close Walter Reed’s campus.
Two years earlier, a government commission, noting that Walter Reed was showing its age, voted to close the facility and consolidate its operations with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and at a hospital at Fort Belvoir.
Former and current patients and staff members said good-bye at the ceremony on the parade grounds in front of the main concrete and glass hospital complex. Most of the moving will occur in August, with a deadline for moving all patients by Aug. 31. On Sept. 15, the Army hands over the campus to the new tenants: the State Department and the District of Columbia. The buildings deemed national historic landmarks will be preserved; others probably will be torn down. The city is expected to develop its section for retail and other uses.

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