A Louisiana man who is the oldest living World War II veteran in the United States recently celebrated his 112th birthday.
On Sunday, Lawrence Brooks was honored with a drive-by party at his New Orleans home hosted by the National World War II Museum, the Associated Press reports.
According to a statement from the National WWII Museum, the celebration included a Jeep parade, a live performance from the museum vocal trio and entertainment from New Orleans musicians. Also, the city recognized Brooks’ birthday with an official proclamation.
"Mr. Brooks, the entire state of Louisiana thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
At 112, Brooks is still going strong. Vanessa Brooks, Lawrence’s daughter said that although her father is blind in his right eye and his vision is failing in his left, his hearing is remarkable and he’s never suffered from a major illness, the New York Post reported.
Born in Norwood, Louisiana, in 1909, Brooks has lived in New Orleans since 1929. Drafted in 1940, he was a private in the Army’s mostly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, a majority Black unit that was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines, which built infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and airstrips. He was honorably discharged in November 1941, but was called back to duty when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Upon returning home from World War II in 1945, after being honorably discharged as a Private First Class, Brooks settled back in New Orleans, where he worked as a forklift operator until 1979, when he fully retired.
Brooks is a father of five children and five stepchildren. Additionally, he has 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.