America's Oldest WWII Veteran Celebrates 112th Birthday in New Orleans
Happy birthday to an American hero!
Lawrence Brooks, the United States' oldest living World War II veteran, celebrated his 112th birthday in style on Sunday.
The supercentenarian usually celebrates his birthdays at The National WWII Museum in his native New Orleans. Sadly, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led museum to arrange a small, socially distanced birthday celebration at Brooks' home this year.
The bash included a performance from the museum's vocal trio, The Victory Belles, and a Jeep parade courtesy of Kajun Outcast Jeep Club and Northshore Wrangler Association.
Brooks and his family maintained a safe distance on his front porch as he was presented with a cake and cards, as well as a serenade from The Victory Belles.
Born in Norwood, Louisiana, on September 12, 1909, Brooks served in the predominantly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. According to the museum, he was a servant to three white officers in his battalion and attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war.
After the war, Brooks worked as a forklift operator before retiring at age 70. He has five children, five stepchildren, 13 grandchildren, and dozens of great-grandchildren. His second wife Leona died shortly after they were evacuated by helicopter following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He's been a widower ever since.
He credits his good health with long walks and chewing gum, a habit he used to replace cigarettes.
"I've started to think about not having many birthdays left. But I'm not worried about it, because God has let me live this long already," Brooks told Fox News on his 110th birthday in 2019. "I think it's because I've always liked people so much. Oh yes, I do."
Happy birthday, Mr. Brooks!