"I had to serve my country," Trimble said. "I did what I had to do."
Trimble went on to become an electrician's mate third class in the United States Navy, serving for three years. He served on the USS Yorktown and received a Presidential Unit Citation and the Pacific Seas Medal for his efforts.
But Trimble always had one regret. When he returned home after serving in the Navy, he went immediately into the job force as a truck driver instead of continuing his education.
"I had to work, but I wish I could have done things differently," said Trimble, now 78, a North Bergen resident for more than 30 years and a retired truck driver for the last 13 years. "Other sailors and soldiers took advantage of the opportunity to go off to college after finishing high school. That's what I should have done."
Wednesday, at the regularly scheduled North Bergen Board of Commissioners meeting, Trimble finally received his high school diploma. Along with fellow veteran Donald Cella, another long-time resident, the commissioners decided to honor the men with a proclamation and the Board of Education presented to each a legitimate high school diploma.
Trimble received his diploma in person. Cella's daughter accepted on behalf of her father, who was recently hospitalized.
"They both certainly deserved it," Mayor Nicholas Sacco said. "They are the first veterans to receive a diploma. We discovered the program and decided it would be a great gesture. They're now finally high school graduates."
Superintendent of Schools Peter Fischbach was contacted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and informed about the two residents who were without a high school diploma.
"They sacrificed their education to serve our country," Sacco said. "This is the least that we can do to honor them."
Trimble, a member of the McDowell VFW Post in North Bergen, said he filled out an application at the post for anyone who lost a chance to receive a high school diploma because of Armed Forces service.
"I signed up for it through the post, so I knew I was going to get it," Trimble said. "It wasn't a surprise, but it certainly was an honor."
Trimble said he always thought about never having received his high school diploma.
"I thought maybe I could get my GED, but I never got around to it," Trimble said. "It really bothered me. I always felt I was smarter than the average guy. I had as much knowledge as a lot of people. I've been around the world. I'm a pretty intelligent man."
Trimble, who is a widower, said that he was impressed with the array of cameras taking his picture during the ceremony. "I felt like a movie star, with all the cameras flashing," Trimble said. "It really was an honor."
There is a slight oddity to this diploma. Considering that North Bergen High School didn't have a graduating class until 1963, Trimble and Cella both instantly become the eldest graduates in North Bergen High School history.
"The school didn't even exist when they went to high school," Sacco said. "So these diplomas are definitely one of a kind. Mr. Trimble was very happy to receive the diploma, as was Mr. Cella's daughter. We're going to honor other veterans in the future."
Trimble wondered what he was going to do with his new acquisition. "Do you think I can go to law school now?" Trimble said. "I always wanted to become a lawyer. Now that I've been through high school, can they get me through college? That would be beautiful if that happened."