Across the country, people are asking the same question. If veterans and schoolchildren can march to a dawn service, why can't our serving military?
This is in the wake of the decision - which after the outcry will be reversed - of the navy to stop personnel from marching to the Greenwell Point dawn service because of workplace health and safety concerns.
The inclusion of navy personnel has been a local tradition for decades.
To threaten it because of safety concerns ought to prompt a nationwide conversation about workplace health and safety.
No one can argue safety at work should not be an uppermost consideration. Recent tragedies on construction sites show how important employee safety is.
However, when a march along a paved road, lit by streetlamps, by people trained to fight wars (which are rarely, if ever, confined to daylight hours) is put on ice because of safety concerns, one has to ask if we have gone too far.
Our soldiers, sailors and fliers face risk routinely. The very nature of their work demands it. Few people in the Shoalhaven would not have heard military helicopters overhead at night in all weather, training for the worst case scenario.
It seems inconceivable the risk assessment for marching to a dawn service would rate higher than one for anti-submarine warfare night flying.
Personal safety at work is important but so is commonsense. Planning to march in low light? Keep your eyes open. Likewise, crossing the road - look right, left and right again. If it's clear of traffic, cross. If not, wait and repeat.
If only things were that simple.
Our workplace safety rules and regulations have exploded in a tangle of yellow and black tape because people do have accidents. Pedestrians cross the road when they shouldn't, they trip over uneven footpaths and hurt themselves, they walk into poles because they're using Instagram, not looking where they're going.
Our military people are trained to make split second decisions with sharp situational awareness. We expect them to assess and respond to multiple threats in the fog of war. We also expect them to be able to march to a dawn service on a lit street.
After the marching ban was revealed, commonsense prevailed. Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan told the senate estimates the march would go ahead.