Thursday, March 10, 2011

Farewell Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Dana at Bug's Eye View hosts Thankful Thursday.  I'm thankful for her doing so.  I finally got my act together this week to participate!

I spent the day yesterday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. A friend's daughter was having corrective surgery, and I didn't want my friend sitting there alone (she is a widow). (p.s. the surgery went well).

While we were there waiting, we walked around the buildings.  The old part of the hospital, dating back to the early part of the 20th century, has flashes of brilliance and beauty. The entire post is being closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendations; I hope there's some kind of historical future for the old part.  They have a 'doomsday' clock showing the days, hours, minutes and seconds. When I noticed it, it was showing 189 days.  At that time, they will close WRAMC and the personnel and salvageable equipment will move to the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) complex in Bethesda, which will then become Walter Reed Military District of Washington.  Joint will be the word of the day.

In that section, the walls are covered with large photos. The earliest date to World War I. The main theme of the photos is Presidents and celebrities visiting the troops, starting with Woodrow Wilson. There are also old warrior photos -- General of the Army George C. Pershing lived at WRAMC until he died, in a special suite built and designed for him. It was interesting to see many of these early artifacts of the hospital's existence, mostly because when it was built, those who funded it and supported thought, that those WWI veterans would be the last users of the facilities.  This is photo of a monument in the wall of the command section.  It used to be a fountain, and was placed by the Ladies of the Red Cross Volunteers.  Note the sentiment in the close-up.

Wishful thinking, fervent hope?

For being 189 days away from closure, this was one VERY BUSY place.  I saw family members of all shapes, sizes and colors. I saw wounded warriors moving around the hospital getting the care they need. And I saw medical personnel dedicated to the mission of taking care of the wounded as well as the families of those who serve.

I didn't see any photos of the current president visiting troops. Hmmm...maybe they're saving them to put up at the new location.

So this is my Thankful Thursday blog. I am thankful for a nation that remembers and honors and cares for those from who it asks such sacrifice. I am the granddaughter, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, of warriors, and have served in the military myself. I am thankful for all those who went before me, for those serving today, and those who will serve in the future. Words are not enough.


The Bug said...

What a great post. I didn't know they were closing the facility - I'm with you, I hope they do something with it that helps preserve all those memories.

Bekah said...

Thanks for sharing- I didn't know it was closing, either. There is so much beauty in old buildings, especially those with such a poignant history.

Mary said...

I think it's really sad that they're closing it. So much history there.