America's oldest World War II veteran celebrates his 111th birthday in New Orleans

  • 19 Sep - 25 Sep, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Lawrence Brooks, the oldest living World War II veteran in America, turned 111 last week. According to CBS News and CNN, Lawrence rang in his milestone birthday with a socially-distanced celebration over the weekend outside the National WWII Museum, located in New Orleans near Brooks' home. The museum's vocal trio, The Victory Belle, performed a rendition of Happy Birthday as the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and the Big Easy Wing flew over the sky. Brooks stood on his front porch and tipped his hat back as the planes flew above him. He also danced a two-step as The Victory Belles performed. During the ceremony and subsequent car parade, Brooks, wearing a New Orleans face mask, smiled and waved to the crowd, saying, “God bless all of you. Everyone of you." According to CBS News, when Brooks was asked what his secret is for living long, he said "it's simple. Serve God and be nice to people." Prior to the celebration, the museum said on its website that well-wishers could send birthday cards to the museum, which would be delivered to Brooks' house. In total, the museum received almost 10,000 birthday cards from all 50 states. According to the museum, Brooks served in the predominately African-American 91st Engineer Battalion, stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during WWII. He was a support worker for officers in his battalion, performing any task asked of him. Brooks eventually attained the rank of Private 1st Class.