"Lone Wolf" (yes that was intended to be a wolf. I guess if this were an Atari game, it would be a great wolf)
Have a great weekend, and don't Labor on Labor Day.
(CNN) -- James Hoyt delivered mail in rural Iowa for more than 30 years. Yet Hoyt had long kept a secret from most of those who knew him best: He was one of the four U.S. soldiers to first see Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp.
James Hoyt Sr. was one of the four U.S. soldiers to first find the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Hoyt died Monday at his home in Oxford, Iowa, a town of about 700 people where he had lived his entire life. He was 83.
His funeral was Thursday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Oxford, with about 100 people in attendance. The Rev. Edmond Dunn officiated and recalled time he spent with Hoyt and his wife.
"I used to go over to have lunch with Doris and Jim, and I would sit across from Jim at the kitchen table and think, 'Before me is a true American hero,' " he said.
Hoyt had rarely spoken about that day in 1945, but he recently opened up to a journalist.
"There were thousands of bodies piled high. I saw hearts that had been taken from live people in medical experiments," Hoyt told author Stephen Bloom in a soon-to-be-published book called "The Oxford Project."
"They said a wife of one of the SS officers -- they called her the Bitch of Buchenwald -- saw a tattoo she liked on the arm of a prisoner, and had the skin made into a lampshade. I saw that." See the horrors of Buchenwald »
Pete Geren, the secretary of the U.S. Army, said the sacrifice Hoyt made for his country so many years ago should never be forgotten.
"It's important that we don't allow ourselves to lose him," Geren told CNN by phone. "It's the memory of heroes like James Hoyt and the memories of what they've done that we must ensure that we keep alive and share with the current generation and future generations.
"Mr. Hoyt, as a young man, saw unspeakable horrors when he was one of the soldiers to discover the Buchenwald concentration camp, and those are experiences as a country and a world we can never forget.
"You think back on a young man 19 years old and to have the experience that he had," Geren said, his voice dissolving before ever finishing his thought.
The discovery of Buchenwald, on April 11, 1945, began the liberation of more than 21,000 prisoners from one of the largest Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
The official U.S. military account of the liberation called the camp "a symbol of the chill-blooded cruelty of the German Nazi state," where thousands of political prisoners were starved and "others were burned, beaten, hung and shot to death."
"There is reason to believe that the prompt arrival of the 6th Armored Division ... on the scene saved many hundreds and perhaps thousands of lives," it said.
As a private first class in the U.S. Army, Hoyt was just 19 when he and his three comrades -- Capt. Frederic Keffer, Tech. Sgt. Herbert Gottschalk and Sgt. Harry Ward -- found Buchenwald in a well-hidden wooded area of eastern Germany. See U.S. military documents detailing the liberation »
Hoyt was driving their M8 armored vehicle.
According to military records, Keffer was the officer in command of the six-wheeled armored vehicle that day. The soldiers were part of the Army's 6th Armored Division near the camp when about 15 SS troopers were captured. It was mid-afternoon.
"At the same time, a group of Russians just escaped from the concentration camp, burst out of the woods attempting to attack the SS men. The Russians were restrained and interrogated," Maj. Gen. R.W. Grow, the American commander of the 6th Armored Division, wrote in a 1975 letter about the Buchenwald liberation.
Keffer was ordered to take his three comrades and two of the Russian prisoners "as guides to investigate, report and rejoin as rapidly as possible."
"I took this side journey of about 3 km away from our main force because we kept encountering SS guards and prison inmates, and the latter told us of the large camp to the south," Keffer wrote in a letter around the 30th anniversary of the liberation.
"We had been told by our intelligence that we might overrun a large prison camp, but we -- or at least I -- had no idea of either the gigantic size of the camp or of the full extent of the incredible brutality."
Keffer and Gottschalk, who spoke German, entered the camp through a hole in an electric barbed wire fence. Hoyt and Ward initially stayed at the vehicle.
"We were tumultuously greeted by what I was told were 21,000 men, and what an incredible greeting that was," Keffer wrote. "I was picked up by arms and legs, thrown into the air, caught, thrown again, caught, thrown, etc., until I had to stop it. I was getting dizzy.
"How the men found such a surge of strength in their emaciated condition was one of those bodily wonders in which the spirit sometimes overcomes all weaknesses of the flesh. My, but it was a great day!"
Keffer said the prisoners, through an underground system, had already taken control of the camp. The four soldiers notified division command to get medical help and food to the prisoners as soon as possible.
The 6th Armored Division newspaper "Armored Attacker" ran a headline on May 5, 1945: "Four 9th AIB Doughs Find Buchenwald." The article described the discovery as "the worst concentration camp yet to be uncovered by west wall troops."
Hoyt, a Bronze Star recipient and veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, was the last of the four original liberators to die.
Born May 16, 1925, to a railroad worker and a schoolteacher, James Francis Hoyt Sr. returned to his Iowa hometown after the war and largely kept quiet about the atrocities he saw. He and Doris married in 1949 and had six children. "She's the love of my life," he said.
He met Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa, in recent years and began telling him his story.
Even 63 years after the liberation, Hoyt suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and attended a weekly group therapy session at a Veterans Affairs facility.
"Seeing these things, it changes you. I was a kid," he said. "Des Moines had been the furthest I'd ever been from home. I still have horrific dreams. Usually someone needs help and I can't help them. I'm in a situation where I'm trapped and I can't get out."
Hoyt was invited to attend the 50th anniversary of the liberation, but he declined. "I didn't want to bring back those memories."
"Thinking back, I would have pushed to be a psychologist -- if for no other reason than to understand myself better."
The military documents detailing Hoyt's involvement in the Buchenwald liberation were discovered in a box in an archive at the The Center for Military History this week after a CNN query.
It was fitting for the humble Iowan. Hoyt listed his greatest achievement not as a Buchenwald liberator, but as spelling bee champ of Johnson County in 1939, when he was in eighth grade. "I still remember the word I spelled correctly: 'archive,' " he said.
The story of James Hoyt -- mail carrier, spelling bee champ and American hero -- has now been archived for history. Sacrifices like his were something his commander once said future generations should never forget.
"Memories of evil get erased, for life must go on, and new generations cannot be locked in the past. But they would do well to remember the past," Keffer wrote.
At Hoyt's graveside Thursday, a 12-veteran color guard gave him a traditional 21-gun salute. Hoyt's casket was draped with the American flag, and that flag was folded, as is tradition, 12 times.
Retired Gen. Robert Sentman gave the flag to Doris Hoyt. Sentman had earlier told mourners about the Buchenwald liberation.
"When the prisoners saw Jim, they picked him up and threw him in the air, that's how happy they were after seeing such horrors. Prisoners had been hung from hooks to die. He saw a lampshade made from a prisoner's tattoo. Jim carried those horrors with him forever. He never got what he had seen out of his mind. If you ever wondered about Jim, think about what he saw.""When you were discharged, no one really gave a hoot about you. It was difficult for a compassionate person like Jim to forget what he saw. He was a hero.
If you or your family has a problem with spending too much, one of the best ways to overcome it is to create a budget and then stick to it. You can’t make too much or too little to make a workable budget. Budgets are for everyone, not just people who can’t control your spending. They are for people who have goals and dreams as well.
First, figure out what your take home pay is after all your taxes and deductions are taken out. Never forget to look at how much the government takes from you each month.
Second, if giving to charity or your church is important to you on a regular basis, determine how much it will be each month. I realize some people will disagree with this being second, however many of us feel strongly about this and find they better manage the rest of their money when then commit to giving first.
Third, figure out what your regular bills are every month just as rent or mortgage, utilities, gas, insurance, food (non-restaurant), and any debt payments you must make like a car loans, school loans, or credit cards that need to be paid off. Decide if you want to pay any of these debts off faster like the credit card. Commit to not putting any more money on the credit card or this debt will just grow rather than go away which should be the goal.
Fourth, look at the receipts you have a for a month and categorize them into needs incidentals (i.e. you got a cold and needed some cold medicine, or went to the doctor for something worse), entertainment, eating out, non-needs incidentals such as candy, girl scout cookies, or who knows what people buy that they don’t need. You may also want to use this method to determine how much you’re spending on gas and groceries each month. Determine if this is a reasonable amount to be spending each month or if you should cut back in areas such as eating out or entertainment. Don’t cut these out completely but look for ways to spend less in these areas so you can stash more away in retirement or your emergency savings. Depending on how strapped you are at the end of the month you may want to evaluate the need you have for such luxuries as cable or cell phones.
Finally, determine how much you can save and how much you would like to save. Start out with a number you can commit to on a monthly basis without over-extending your budget and leaving a bit of a cushion for incidentals. Savings means all kinds of things such as a regular savings account, 401k, IRA, or regular stock portfolio. Figure out how you would like to divvy it up keeping in mind that savings for emergency purposes as well as future large purchases such as a vacation, gifts, or fixing up your house, are necessary components to savings. Look for little ways to save a little extra here and there be it by stashing some cash every once in awhile and leaving it alone or a change jar, or whatever you can afford from time to time.
I’m sure I’ve missed something, but these are the basics to getting you started on a budget. You’ll find things that work for you that may be different that what I say. But just remember, it is your personal responsibility to live within your means. This is a tool that can get you started on that path.
This post applies to the things that drive me nuts that happen in any communal work setting. Inefficiency and lack of accountability are infuriating tolerances around my place of business that will have to wait for another day.
Mice/Rats roaming the office
We have recently experienced visitors running throughout our building as if they own the place. And as most of find them dirty and repulsive they have made attempts to control the problem. However being in one of the “politically correct” capitals of the U.S. apparently they are trying to eliminate them humanely. That is not by killing them? Or is it? I’m not sure which. This is because the first time around they set out a bunch of glue traps all over the place. Great. But how is catching the little critters and letting them struggle to get away to death more humane than a snap trap that instantly kills them? Then they but out a second round of traps that I’m not sure what they are so I don’t know if they are meant to kill them or meant to be a mechanism of catch and release. Release where? Another building? The sewer? Some other place of infestation? Needless to say we still have a problem that has been going on for months and I don’t project them going away anytime soon. I’m in favor of letting some cats loose in there.
So we all have had varying degrees of shared refrigerators in the work place. Although recently addressed at my current work place due to the conglomeration of about 4 or 5 refrigerators in one break room producing a toxic stench that do doubt kept the aforementioned rats and mice away, many of us can relate to having to share a refrigerator at work with people that think it is their own personal trashcan that somebody else will clean out.
Everyone gets the email messages that go out to the whole building or to a specified large group of people. Invariably, someone will reply to all with a question or comment that really only the sender needs to see. We get an email everyday that the “Taco Truck” is here. This applies to just about every place of business in Austin; it’s part of the culture I guess. Anyways so one person sends it out which I just directed email from him to my trashcan so I could stop getting infuriated. If I wanted to get fat like everyone else there I’d know when the taco guy arrived and be the first in line to gorge myself. The problem is when this guy is out of the office, someone else is sure to step in to tell the whole building that he’s here!!! And I’m infuriated all over again.
Lesson one: DON’T REPLY TO ALL IF ALL DON’T NEED TO BE REPLIED TO!
Lesson two: MAKE A LIST OF PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BE NOTIFIED EVERYDAY OF THE TACO MAN AND NOTIFY ONLY THEM!!!
Lesson three: If you think it will piss me off because it was unnecessarily sent to me don’t send me the email. I’m so tempted to “reply to all” and say that every time it happens.
Lesson four: All Caps is really inappropriate for an email. So is red unless you are responding to questions asked in the body of the email and you need to differentiate your answer from their question. Red All Caps are always inappropriate.
Everyone likes to feel special, but not everyone cares about their birthday or being the center of attention. Some of us just like ice cream. That doesn’t mean that a mandatory singing of the Happy Birthday Song has to accompany the cake and ice cream does it? No one can sing well anyways, so what’s the point? If singing is mandatory, I’d rather skip it all together and just celebrate with my family like normal people. But I do conveniently show up late now so that the singing is hopefully done in time for me to line-up for the ice cream. How anti-social of me right???
We randomly get a manila envelope passed around with a card inside and a checklist of everyone in the office to check their name off and pass it on to someone who hasn’t checked their name off. Sometimes they ask for money for a gift. At least they can’t tell if YOU gave money or not. Sometimes they don’t even tell you who the card is for? So you want me to sign a card for someone I don’t know? What if I don’t like them? Or what if they hate me and seeing my signature would do them in? (Dramatic I know, since I don’t have any mortal enemies that I know of at the office). Still why don’t you just put the card in a central location and send out the dreaded mass email letting us know it’s there if we want to sign? As long as no one “replies to all” asking a stupid question, it’s an appropriate use of email in my book.