Sometimes it seemed as if we'd always been at war, the quiet of our lives on Waltons Mountain was interrupted daily by headlines and bulletins that took us to far off deserts and island outposts with impossible names. Our days swung between hope and despair, but somehow we went forward, meeting the demands of life in a troubled world, proving at home what the war was proving on every front, that a crisis can make leaders of the most ordinary of men".
It's 1944 and Jim Bob is graduating. Corabeth has been appointed substitute teacher for the term. John-Boy is home for a short leave, before going on active duty again. Ben arrives to reveal he's being posted to the South Pacific, and Jason says he's applied for overseas duty. Jim Bob, almost certain to get the highest marks in school, is due to give the speech at the Graduation, but doesn't want to, so thinks seriously of deliberately failing a science exam. But after Elizabeth tells him she's ashamed of him, he changes his mind. Erin receives a letter at long last from her boy-friend Ashley Longworth, but the news it brings that he's married to an English girl fills her with grief. John Walton brings Grandma to the Graduation just as Jim Bob announces that all four of the boys graduating from school that day have enlisted in the army. The following morning, as all the Walton boys depart, the family sadly sees them off, wondering what the future will bring.
"My brothers and I knew as we walked away that morning that things would never again be the same. The war would teach us how small Waltons Mountain was, and how ordinary our lives there. And yet, from the foxholes of France, and the skies over Germany, on the reefs and stolls of the South Pacific, wherever the war was to take us, we returned to the mountain in memory, over and over again; that wooded earth, that frame house, that weathered porch where our loved ones waited - home".