The past week and a half has been one for the books.

It’s been hectic, scary, emotional, reassuring and a striking reminder that anything can happen at anytime.

When you least expect it, the enemy can strike.

Something you’ve lived by your entire life can become the bomb that destroys your neighborhood, your piece of the world, and someone you love can be gone, whether you were prepared to say goodbye or not.

Also released this week were the names of two Fort Hood soldiers who died. Both losses could have been prevented.

Like nearly everyone in America, I wasn’t directly related to any of these events, but each one saddens me. My heart aches as it goes out to those who are affected.

I want to spring into action. I want to do something, but what?

Does everyone around me know how much I love them and care about them? Am I paying attention to the potential cries for help or destructive behavior of those I love and am I doing something about it?

Would I be ready to spring into action had it been my town these events occurred in?

I’ve lived in Killeen when a bomb plot was halted in action. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination.

Why does it take tragedy to remind us to love each other and reach out to a stranger?

Why is it that only in the wake of a terrorist attack that fans at a sporting event actually sing along to the national anthem, instead of anxiously awaiting its end so the game will start?

Why do people only think about donating blood when they see the devastation of West and hear 160 people are in a nearby hospital?

Why do I hug my husband tighter when I know he is going downrange than when he’s going to the gym?

I don’t expect us to live up to these high standards every day, by any means, but if any positive can come from these events, I hope people will see that these actions can be done regularly.

There is always someone enduring a private struggle and even a smile could turn their day around.

And people are in the hospital every single day in need of blood. What brought them there was unlikely to draw the attention of the national media, but their life is surely important to someone.

Blood donation can be done every eight weeks, so I hope some of these first-time donors who lined up after the West explosion will show up again in June to donate.

And those mornings when I’m rushing to get out the door on time for my first assignment, I’ll make sure to take the extra second or two to actually look my husband in the eyes when I tell him I love him.

These are the things in my world I can control, so I will.

I’ll square myself away and continue forward, because whether you’re ready on not, life continues in the wake of tragedy.

Make the most of it.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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