BAKERSFIELD, CA - A local World War II veteran who missed his chance to see his memorial, will be on board the next Honor Flight. James Cartwright fell and broke his hip in November, just days before he was scheduled to fly with the group to Washington, D.C.
"I'm in good condition. I may not look good, but I'm doing well," joked Cartwright from his living room recliner.
But, six months ago it was no laughing matter. That's when he had to trade in his seat on the Honor Flight for a wheelchair.
"I don't know which was worse, the pain from the fracture or the fact that I had disqualified myself from going back to Washington," said Cartwright from his wheelchair in November 2012.
Cartwright explained last November that instead of a trip to Washington, D.C., he tripped on a mop in his driveway just four days before the Honor Flight.
"No. No, I made a resolution that mops and I do not do well together. And, what the Hell do you want a mop for anyways?," said Cartwright six months after the accident.
Cartwright is now up on two feet again. And he's being very careful. That's because he's ready to jet set and reclaim his seat on Honor Flight that's been waiting for him.
"So, we kept moving him along to the first April flight, the second April flight, and now he can finally, he's finally comfortable going. So, we are excited to be able to take him," said Lili Marsh with Honor Flight Kern County.
"I'm incredibly delighted," said Cartwright about the trip. "Yeah, I'm tickled to death."
Cartwright was a Naval Aviation Radio Operator in World War II. He'd send out messages, following the war from island to island, until its victorious end. Now, he says, at 89 years old, he feels he's won again, with a second chance to see his memorial.
"When I look at the memorial, I will think of the guys that I served with. Most of them are long gone. Excuse me," said Cartwright choking back tears. "It will bring back the glory that we all shared in when we received victory in the second World War. I served with some great people, really good people. That's all I can say."
The next Honor Flight, the one James will be on, leaves Bakersfield for Washington, D.C. May 31st.