BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — U.S. military officials are celebrating the opening of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presided over a dedication ceremony Thursday of what he called “a 21st-century place of miracles.”


The hospital is a merger of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center.


The Army moved patients in August from the Washington facility to the Bethesda campus and a new hospital at Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia.


The merger was mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. The new facility is staffed by Army, Navy and Air Force members.


(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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