In word and deed, the late ex-president Nathan championed compassion and resilience. In a touching story shared on news / discussion aggregation site Reddit, user Neralo recounts how, in 2011, Nathan insisted on carrying through with the reviewing segment of a commissioning ceremony despite heavy rainfall – even if it would eventually get the 87-year-old drenched.
“Normally there’s a parade review, but if it rains, that part is taken out so that the reviewing officer doesn’t need to get drenched,” wrote Neralo, who was then an attending officer cadet. Neralo would eventually ask a senior officer why Nathan chose to continue, and even refused to use an umbrella.
Apparently, Nathan fully intended to endure the rain together with the outgoing senior batch of the Officer Cadet School (OCS) – who would lay down their lives for the nation – as he felt it was the least he could do.
The Peak reached out to Neralo to clarify some details, and the story was quickly substantiated by secondary accounts, the MINDEF website, and even a video of the proceedings – here’s when Mr Nathan stepped into the vehicle to begin the tour. (Click here to skip to when the rain gets heaviest.)
In response to the discussion, Reddit user Plasmacow summed up the feeling of the graduating cohort: “The emotions we felt before the parade, with the terrible forecast and possible scrub (cancellation) made us all nervous. The joy our cohort had when the enciks gave the greenlight for the parade was indescribable… When (Nathan) refused an umbrella and reviewed in the rain, the noise from the crowd was amazing.
“Talking to him after was humbling, he was so nice – like a grandfather. That was my only personal experience with him and I will never regret it.”
Three words: A class act. Rest in peace, Mr Nathan.