In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Pelkos receive a telegram from the Secretary of War, confirming that
"Lieutenant Emory J. Pelko has been missing in action at Pearl Harbor since 7 December 41."
Although Adam wants to believe that there is still hope that his father will be found alive, he knows that, in reality, there is no hope (Chapter 23).
After awhile, Adams mother is informed that the navy is sending all dependent families back to the mainland. Adam is furious;
"the thought of leaving his father...at the bottom of Pearl Harbor (is) too awful."
Although he protests vehemently to his mother, she tells him that they have no choice. The Pelkos sail home to the mainland on a troop ship, and there are
"no bands, no banners, and no waving and cheering."
The full grim reality of war has been forced upon Adam, and he reflects that that one fateful day, 7 December 41, has changed his life forever. People say that Lieutenant Pelko and the others who were lost in the attack are heroes, but Adam feels only emptiness and hurt. As the ship sails away from Hawaii, Adam drops a lei into the water, as a symbol that he would one day come back, and for now, he says to himself sadly,
"Goodbye, Dad" (Chapter 24).