NEW YORK — The US Army is giving up the dream of allowing veterans to use wood stain for the first time since the Vietnam War.
In an announcement made Thursday, the service said that the wood stain it had been using in its war-renowned memorial in Hueston, South Carolina, will be banned.
The Army said it will be phased out from the national memorial after 30 years of use.
Wood stain is an effective way to preserve the wood of memorials in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The wood can be applied to memorials, and can be used to make furniture or other objects.
But it can also damage historic structures or tarnish the surfaces of the gravesites.
At the Hueston memorial, the Army had used wood stain on the outside of the memorial, but it did not cover the inside.
It is a traditional ceremony to place the tree in the center of the wood.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Association, a nonprofit group that helps vets reclaim their war-era honors, had been working to get the service to allow veterans to apply wood stain to the Husey Memorial.
“It’s unfortunate the Army chose to make this change without any input from veterans,” said Tom Hensley, president of the association.
Veterans can apply the stain on memorials at the memorial site in Husey, South Charleston, for one day a year, and for a maximum of one day at the Army Memorial in Arlington, Va., which is about 30 miles from Charleston.
For decades, veterans have applied the stain to their gravestones at Arlington.
Hensley said the Vietnam Veterans and their families have been upset about the decision.
“We were all hoping for a more humane solution,” he said.
There have been complaints from some veterans who were not given access to the site.
“They’re still asking, ‘How can we bring the stain home?'” he said, “and they’re not getting any answers.”