The tumultuous Vietnam era brought many cultural and social changes to America. Jimbo, like other Americans of that time must learn to adapt and cope with the tests of their character during one of the dark passages of America’s history. The story and characters are fictional; their predicaments are not.
Jimbo is a young Marine who has been wounded in battle in Vietnam. The corpsman who saved his life has been mortally wounded. In his dying moment, the corpsman asks Jimbo to promise he will return his religious scapular to “Miss Emma” and his sister, and to tell them he loves them. Although Roof dies before Jimbo can affirm the unsolicited promise, he feels committed to it.
Not only is Jimbo faced with the challenge of recovery from his wounds, he also struggles with the loss of the affection of the girlfriend he once hoped to marry. Kathy, for whom he has a deep attachment, rejects him. She tells him she cannot love someone who supports the war in Vietnam. She has met someone else who isn’t guided by his patriotic fervor.
Although Jimbo later finds an accomplished and affectionate woman he cares for, he is unable to suppress the lingering feelings he has for Kathy. He is unable to understand how the memory of her maintains the grip on his thoughts, and wonders if he will carry those feelings to his grave.