The World War II veterans on the second Kern County Honor Flight were forced to leave a man behind Tuesday morning. Fellow veteran, Jim Cartwright, had to cancel what he called 'a trip of a lifetime', after he tripped over the weekend and broke his hip. That means he will have to wait to see the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.
"I've seen it in pictures, yeah, that's all," said Cartwright about the memorial.
Cartwright was also supposed to receive applause Tuesday morning at Meadows Field along with the rest of the veterans boarding the Honor Flight.
"I'm 89 years old now, so I had pretty much given up the idea of travel. So, this was sort of a bonus going my way," said Cartwright.
But, that hope was broken, along with his hip last Friday when he fell. Instead of a seat on the Honor Flight, he's sitting in a wheelchair at Glenwood Gardens recovering.
"So, I knew everything was down the tubes," said Cartwright of the trip after his fall. "I cannot begin to describe it. I don't know which was worse, the pain from the fracture or the fact that I disqualified myself from going back to Washington."
Cartwright was a naval aviation radio operator based in Honolulu. He'd send out messages following the war from island to island and deliver blood and essentials.
"It was exciting and a little scary at times. We never knew what we were going to get into when we left one island and fly into another one," said Cartwright of the war. He then went on to talk about the Honor Flight he'll be missing.
"There'll be a lot of sea stories told on this trip. Mostly, they'll be true," said Cartwright.
It's those stories he'd hoped to share with the other veterans, memories that come to life, with a bond, that unlike his hip, can't be broken.
"Oh yeah, sure. It was going to be a trip of a lifetime. Absolutely," said Cartwright.
Local Honor Flight organizers tell 17 News they are already beginning to plan their next trip to D.C. It's scheduled for the spring and they say Cartwright will get the first seat. Cartwright expects to be out of the care facility in less than a week and says he will be more careful so he doesn't miss his next opportunity.