In the spring of 1941, nineteen-year-old John Cooper asks sixteen-year-old Nora Warden to marry him. After she instructs him to "grow up first," he joins the Army Air Corps. Stationed at Hickam Field, the air base adjacent to Pearl Harbor, John survives the devastation of December 7. The aftermath of the attack only begins his odyssey through the South Pacific, four years that burden him with guilt and shame. Returning home a wearied man, John seeks to start a family with Nora, but the young couple confronts hardships intensified by the harrowing memories both carry from their pasts. Amid the unrest of the Cold War and John's worries about the arms race, he and Nora find solace in raising their daughter, Cassie. But it is not until the impact of September 11 leaves John's grandson, Johnny DeRosa, overrun with anguish and despair that John fully comprehends how the sacrifices of his ...