There is a song that that hit the charts in 1982 that became quite popular during that time, titled “War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)” . It was written by Curly Putman, Bucky Jones and Dan Wilson, and was recorded by T.G. Sheppard in 1982.
The song does not necessarily depict the life of the war hero this article is about, but the title, which is the chorus of the song, could depict the tragic way his life ended. However, from all reported accounts, this young man would not have said that.
Sergeant James Hackemer’s life ended yesterday when he fell from a roller coaster at a theme park in Syracuse, New York. Seartgeant Hackemer was enjoying an outing at the theme park with his daughters, sisters and other members of the family. His nephew was on the ride with him when the tragedy occurred.
Sergeant Hackemer’s mother, Nancy Hackemer, said:
‘It’s going to help a little bit that he was happy. We shouldn’t have had him for these last three years and four months. After he was hit by the IED, he died once in the field and once on the operating table.’
When discussing the theme park ride, Mrs. Hackemer said:
‘He was assisted on to the ride. He was doing what he wanted to do.’
Mrs. Hackemer also said that the family members are planning a ‘Celebration of Life’ for Sergeant Hackemer.
Reading his mother’s last statement really hit home for me. She did not say the family was planning a funeral for this young hero. She said they are planning a “Celebration of Life”.
I did not personally know this young hero who sacrificed his time and service for my freedoms, but I am saddened that his life ended while he was having a fun outing with his family and friends. He made it through the war- yes, with many adversities along the way, but he made it home alive, only to die while having fun. So as I sit, lamenting this young man’s life with a chorus about war being hell on the home front too, I can imagine that he would prefer we sing something along the lines of, “Life’s A Dance”.
It is quite obvious that this young hero did not allow his great loss to stop him from getting out in the world and having fun. In fact, he died… having fun.
I think we could all take a hint from Sergeant Hackemer life, and death. He is a hero in many ways. Yes, he was a brave soldier that fought for our freedoms. But he lived his life to the fullest until the day he died. He never allowed his adversities to hold him back.
May you rest in peace, Sergeant Hackemer. This nation needs many more people with your tenacity. Thank you for your service. It was not in vain!