(NBC) - The U.S. military said a bittersweet farewell Wednesday to an institution that has served generations of wounded warriors.
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center is being closed because of budget cuts.
A ceremony paid tribute to the hospital and the untold thousands who worked and were healed there, a place that treated Commanders-in-Chief and buck privates who returned from the battlefields and had to fight to reclaim their lives.
In keeping with military tradition, the unit officially retired its ceremonial colors and unveiled the colors for its state-of-the-art replacement in Bethesda, MD.
Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker was among the many who served there.
"I stand before you today with heart burdened with sorrow and yet swelling with pride as we witness the colors of this command for the final time," he said.
While the ceremonial transfer is done, the military still has plenty of heavy lifting to do before the Walter Reed campus is handed over to the State Department and the District of Columbia.
It will close its doors for the last time sometime in September.
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