Here in Kansas a mother of a soldier wonders and worries about her son. Verna Phillips is from rural Newton, but her son is a world away in Iraq. Private First Class Chris Hopkins is only 50 or so miles from Baghdad. He drives a Bradley fighting vehicle.
The tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles are rolling through the sand on to Baghdad, with 20 year old Chris Hopkins driving a Bradley. Hopkins' mother says it bothers her because the closer they get, there's no telling what will happen. Verna knows her son will be in the thick of things, and knows he's likely to be in danger. That's why it was a thrill to see her son a few days ago being interviewed by one of the network reporters. She wishes instead of just seeing him on TV she could have hugged him, but it's good to know he's ok for now.
Verna showed of baby pictures, and her patriotic pins wondering what's next in Iraq. "Yeah I worry," she says. "So I try to stay pretty busy. Between my job and living out here with four and a half acres of yard, it keeps me pretty busy."
The farm life is quiet, complete with cows. The solitude gives her a chance to talk to her son, even though she can't call him thousands of miles away. Verna says she goes in to her yard and talks to him, which gives her some comfort.
Chris Hopkins is a 2001 graduate of Newton High School. He's in the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division. That division was part of the first wave of U.S. ground forces in Iraq. They're now reportedly very close to Baghdad. Hopkins was slated to come home in a couple of months, but with the war he'll stay indefinitely.