Famed U.S. Military Hospital Prepares to Close

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Army's flagship hospital in Washington, D.C., which has treated presidents and wounded service members from World War I to the war in Afghanistan, is holding a goodbye ceremony before it closes its doors for the last time.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center retires its flags Wednesday as patients and staff prepare to move from the 102-year-old facility to two other military hospitals in Maryland and Virginia.

Walter Reed was the subject of a scandal in 2007, when the Washington Post newspaper reported that some veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were housed in substandard accommodations and faced numerous complications getting their veterans' benefits.

The decision to close the hospital was not the result of the scandal; the closure had been planned since 2005, as a cost-cutting measure.

A string of U.S. presidents and other high-profile officials have been treated at the hospital, including former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, who died there in 1969.

Some of the buildings on the hospital campus are expected to be preserved as historic landmarks.