Parades. Marching bands. Solemn, patriotic speeches. The ways we commemorate Memorial Day today are much the same as they were back in 1944, when Molly’s stories take place. It is a day to honor our fallen soldiers and to acknowledge service men and women—and their families—for the sacrifices they make to defend our country, both at home and around the world.

Today, for many girls, our military conflicts can feel distant and unreal. They may see news stories or learn about them in school, but it doesn’t affect their daily lives. Yet for girls with a parent in the armed forces, it can be a scary and lonely experience.

In Molly’s stories, the U.S.’s involvement in World War II greatly impacted Molly and her family—as it did for all Americans on the home front in 1944. She greatly missed her father, an army doctor stationed in England. She practiced air raid drills and faced rationing on daily essentials like gas, food, and clothing. But when her family took in Emily Bennett, an English girl sent to America by her parents to escape the bombing in Britain, Molly learned the realities of what was happening overseas.

For girls with a parent in the military, Molly’s life mirrors what they might be experiencing themselves. For others, her story offers a glimpse into what life might be like for their friends and classmates with a loved one in service.

Although her world had been turned upside down, Molly understood the sacrifices she made were in support of the war effort. And she dealt with the sadness and fear of her father’s absence with the help of her family, friends, and neighbors who were in similar circumstances.

This Memorial Day, we remember and give thanks to those who have served, and to all the military families who give much for the benefit of all Americans.