Lawrence Brooks has witnessed a lot in his life – 112 years, to be exact. The New Orleans native recently turned 112 years old. Brooks is also the world’s oldest living World War II soldier, which makes this year extra significant.
The National World War Two Museum hosted a full-fledged drive-by party for the war veteran on Clara Street. The museum’s representatives say they wanted Brooks’ birthday to be one he wouldn’t forget.
“If you ask Mr. Brooks why he has lived so long, he will tell you that his credo is ‘be good to people,’” said Peter Crean, vice president of Education and Access at the National WWII Museum.
“It’s not only what we stand for. He is the United States’ oldest veteran, thus he represents an entire generation.”
Brooks has had an annual event at the museum for the previous two years, but it has been brought to him owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. A live performance by the museum’s singing trio, The Victory Belles, a Jeep parade, and other performances by local New Orleans artists were among the highlights of the evening.
Brooks’ birthday was also commemorated with an official proclamation by the city of New Orleans.
Brooks was born in 1909 in Norwood, Louisiana, and enlisted in the Army in 1940. Brooks worked in mapmaking and helped build roads and bridges for the Allies as a part of the 91st Engineer Battalion, a battalion predominantly made up of Black troops.
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Brooks was honorably discharged in 1945. He moved back to New Orleans and worked as a forklift operator until 1979 when he retired.
On Twitter, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wished Brooks a happy 112th birthday, writing, “Happy 112th birthday to Mr. Lawrence Brooks, America’s oldest living World War II soldier, and a proud Louisianan.”
“The entire state of Louisiana appreciates you for your service, Mr. Brooks, and we all wish you a happy birthday,” he continued. #lagov.”
“Happy 112th birthday to Mr. Lawrence Brooks, America’s oldest living World War II veteran,” said another. This is what we referred to as “longevity.” Sir, have a wonderful birthday. Sir, God has been nice to you. You continue to look strong and lively. Sir, may God bless you.”
A third person said, “Happy Birthday: Thanks for serving during a time when you and people who look like you didn’t have basic human rights right here at home!” “Real American history!” exclaims the narrator.
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