Mrs. Stella Hadley doesn't like change. She refuses to read The Washington Chronicle, which used to belong to her husband and was a Republican paper, but is now a Democratic one. Even though her husband died years ago, she has her servants set a place for him at the dinner table every year for her birthday. The same guests are invited, including her alcoholic son, Teddy; her daughter, Pat; old sweetheart, Elliot Fulton, who works for the government; her doctor, Leonard Meecham; and friend Cecilia Talbot. Her latest birthday is celebrated on December 7th, 1941, the day the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Everyone pitches in to help the war effort. Teddy works for Elliot and Pat volunteers at the service canteen handing out coffee and doughnuts to soldiers. But, Stella acts like nothing has changed. When she's encouraged to join a first aid group, she refuses because Laura Winters' is in charge, and her husband was the man who bought The Chronicle.
Teddy spends his time partying and lies to Stella about having to work late. When he gets drafted, she asks Elliot to pull some strings, but he thinks this is the best thing for Teddy. Stella refuses to speak to him after that. Teddy hates the idea, but Pat convinces him that it's his duty and he soon becomes a dedicated soldier.
Pat falls in love with a soldier, Mike Fitzpatrick. He gets word that he's being transferred to another part of the country and they plan to get married. Stella can't believe that Pat wants to get married and leave, and she won't give her blessing, even though Mike's mother comes to talk to her. Pat and Mike get married, but Stella refuses to attend the wedding.
One by one, Stella's stubborness causes her to turn away friends. When she finds out Cecilia Talbot is learning first aid with Laura Winters, she refuses to see her anymore.
Weeks pass, and Stella is lonely and afraid for Teddy who is in the Pacific. One day, her butler brings in the paper which has a headline saying that Teddy has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. Stella asks to get all the papers, even The Chronicle, so she can read the news. A few minutes later, Mrs. Fitzpatric comes. Stella thinks it's because she's heard about Teddy, but she's really come to tell her that Pat and Mike are going to have a baby. Reporters come, wanting to get her angle on Teddy's medal, but she tells them that she doesn't see why her private life should be part of the papers. One of the reporters tells her that Laura Winters spoke to them, even though her son died on the same mission that Teddy was in. Stella feels guilty for her stubbornness and reads them a letter Teddy wrote, where he praised Laura Winter's son. Then she goes to visit Laura and apologizes for the grudge she's held for so long. Laura accepts her apology and says that the only thing that matters now is that they put aside their differences and work to make sure that her son and others like him haven't died in vain.
Stella becomes an active and enthusiastic supporter of the war benefit and reunites with all her friends and family. She also marries Elliot and they leave together to be at the birth of her new grandchild.
This report prepared by Angela Tircuit