Happy birthday Lawrence Brooks! The World War II veteran celebrated his 112th birthday on Sunday, September 12, 2021. Brooks is the oldest surviving veteran of the war. He currently resides in Louisiana.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brooks celebrated his birthday with a drive-by party. The gathering was hosted by the National World War II Museum.
The event wasn’t just a parade, but also included a live performance from the museum vocal trio and entertainment from New Orleans musicians, according to ABC 12.
The World War II Museum hosted Brooks’ previous birthday which was also a drive-by event due to Covid concerns. Last year’s party included a flyover of WWII-era aircraft, according to WPXI.
Surviving the war and then living to 112-years-old is a feat that was met with congratulations from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards who tweeted. “Mr. Brooks, the entire state of Louisiana thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday.”
Happy 112th birthday to Mr. Lawrence Brooks, America’s oldest living World War II veteran and a proud Louisianan. Mr. Brooks, the entire state of Louisiana thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday. #lagov pic.twitter.com/MYNdrhnpH8
— Gov. John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) September 12, 2021
Mr. Brooks was drafted in 1940 at the age of 31. He served in the 91st Engineer Battalion which was comprised mostly of Black soldiers. He was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines. His unit built bridges, roads, and airstrips that offered important ground support for Allied troops.
The National World War II Museum has provided an oral history as told directly by Lawrence Brooks.
Veterans Affairs notes that Mr. Brooks was drafted in 1940, trained at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and was honorably discharged in November 1941. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was called back into service.
After the war ended, Brooks left the Army to become a forklift operator. He has lived a long life that includes two marriages and five children. His family has grown considerably over the years and now included 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
His daughter says that minus some sight issues in his left eye, he has lived a very healthy life that hasn’t included any major illnesses.
Happy birthday Mr. Brooks, and thank you for your service.