Nationals players and coaches visit Walter Reed Hospital

Last Friday, Washington Nationals players and coaches made their annual trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the last time they’ll visit the facility before the hospital closes its doors next week. The facility has been the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center since 1909 and has served more than 150,000 patients from all branches of the military. After more than 100 years in action, its doors are set to close on September 15.

While the sight of the ballplayers produced smiles on the faces of many patients and their families, the players and coaches were struck by the sacrifices these servicemen and women had made for the sake of their country.

“You see a 19-year-old kid with his legs missing, and it’s pretty tough to take,” pitcher John Lannan said. “These guys are doing something they believe in and we’re proud to have them out there fighting for us.” 

Nationals P John Lannan and 3B Coach Bo Porter entering Walter Reed Hospital.

The Nationals came away with a new found appreciation for the dedication of the armed forces. What they saw made them realize how truly lucky they were.

“When you come here, everything is put into perspective,” infielder Alex Cora said. “Even if we win, it’s just a game. Winning or losing, first place or last place, it’s just a game. We’re lucky to do what we do. It’s because of these people we have the freedom to live and do the things that we do on a daily basis, because of their sacrifice for us.”

The Nationals are used to being seen as role models in the community, but on the day of their visit, they admired the positive attitudes they saw from the military patients.

“I think they are more of a role model to me”, said Lannan. “They are as much of a role model to me as I am to them. I hope those guys realize how much we support them and how much we appreciate everything they do.”

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