MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough community gathered in front of the Doughboy statue on Nov. 11 to observe Veterans Day.
During the ceremony, Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) presented a proclamation. Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who read a poem, also thanked the veterans for their service.
“This is your day,” he said.
Retired Petty Officer 1st Class in the U.S. Navy Eli King said the people who answered the call of service did so for many reasons.
“No matter the reason, circumstance or time spent in service, you answered the call. Again, I thank you,” said King.
His journey began over 30 years ago when he walked into a Navy recruiting office in Minnesota, following in the footsteps of the men in his family. His father served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and his grandfather served on the HMS Ark Royal during World War II.
King took the vocational placement exam and qualified for submarine duty. The recruiter told him that life on a submarine created a close-knit community.
“He liked to say submarine service is the elite of the fleet – that only .002% of the United States population ever served on board a submarine,” King recalled.
After boot camp and submarine school, King reported aboard his first submarine in Charleston, S.C.
“What my recruiter didn’t tell me is I would soon be creating lifelong friendships, and I would be visiting some unbelievable places,” said King.
He recalled being called to the commanding officer’s state room in 1994 and learning that his mother was terminally ill with cancer. The crew came together to make sure that he had traveling money and offered their condolences.
“I would tell this story to every new class of students when I eventually became a submarine school instructor to bring home the closeness of the submarine community and what they volunteered for,” King said.