Walter Reed Closing Marked by Ceremony

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After more than a century of treating wounded soldiers, Walter Reed Army Medical Center will officially close its doors on Sept. 15.

The hospital will be consolidated with the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Maj. Walter Reed's sword was symbolically handed over to the Navy at a ceremony, Wednesday, marking the closure of the Army hospital bearing his name. Reed was an Army physician whose research proved that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitos.

More than 1,000 people attended the "casing of the colors" ceremony at the Washington, D.C., facility. Flags from the medical center were rolled up and put in protective covers, signifying that the unit is inactive.

The hospital opened in 1909 and has a history of care to military members, their families, and presidents. President Dwight Eisenhower died there, as did Gens. John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur.

Army Secretary John McHugh said Walter Reed has never been about bricks and mortar, but about "spirit and hope and compassion" that will continue after the hospital closed.

"These doors may close, the address may change, but the name, the legacy and most importantly the work and the healing will endure," McHugh said.

The new facility will be known as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will also have a campus in Fort Belvoir, Va.

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