HANNIBAL — Clara Campbell was a single mother raising two boys. Now, both are at war in Afghanistan.
It makes for a difficult holiday for Campbell, who works with the developmentally disabled in the northeast Missouri town of Hannibal. But she told the Hannibal Courier-Post she remains positive.
"You have to think positive," Campbell said. "They're over there, they'll get the job done, and they'll come home."
The boys, seven years apart in age, have completely different personalities. Christopher, the older one, is "loud and rowdy," his mother said. Evan is laid back and stoic.
Both boys tried college but liked the fact that in the military they could earn money, get an education and see the world.
Christopher Campbell joined the Marines 11 years ago. He is now a sergeant and plans to make it a career.
"He's proud to be a Marine," Campbell said. "He's Marine all the way."
Evan joined the Army three years ago. He hasn't decided whether it will be his career.
Christopher has two sons — both live with their mother in North Carolina. Evan became engaged to a Hannibal woman just before he left for Afghanistan.
Campbell has her doubts about the war, but she fully supports the troops.
"I don't see how it is that we'll make a difference if other (countries) haven't made a difference," she said. "Not all things are winnable."
But she has no regrets about her sons' decisions.
"These are the choices my sons made," she said. "I can only be there to support them. They need our support."
She stays in contact with the boys via the Internet and gets comfort from people around her.
"They shake my hand and tell me, 'Thank your boys for their service,'" Campbell said.
Campbell has thrown herself into her work, but said her thoughts are always with Christopher and Evan.
"I'm worried about their safety," Campbell said. "I hope they come back in one piece, mind and body both. What worries me the most is losing both of them or even one of them."