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Walter Reed Closing Ceremony Lowers Flag For Last Time

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The flag lowering ceremony that marked the end of 102 years of medical service at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Armando Trull
The flag lowering ceremony that marked the end of 102 years of medical service at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

The flag lowering ceremony that marked the end of 102 years of medical service at Walter Reed could be heard from Ellen McBarnette's porch. She says she and her neighbors will miss the facility.

"It's been a beautiful neighbor and as you can see from my front door I'm looking out on mature trees and a beautiful campus and knowing that it's leaving and not knowing what's going to be there is a grave concern to me," McBarnette says.

The neighborhood is expecting a new Walmart down the street, and residents want a green buffer zone like a park between them and whatever is ultimately built on the Walter Reed site.

The USO invited the Doobie Brothers for a farewell concert at the hospital. As they played, Elizabeth Scott was just outside the gate under a shady tree, waiting for her daughter to pick up her prescriptions.

"I've been coming to Walter Reed for 50-some years, and now its closing," says Scott.

Scott will be among the thousands of patients and staffers moved to the new Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, and Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Those jurisdictions are bracing for the increased traffic congestion, which is expected to take years and millions of dollars to fix.

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