Lawrence Brooks, a New Orleans native and the oldest known United States veteran of World War II, celebrated his 111th birthday with the National WWII Museum at his home on Saturday.
The museum has hosted a celebration for Mr. Brooks for the past five years, and the party went on this year as well - but it looked a bit different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brooks watched safely from his front porch, complete with a cup of coffee, while the museum's vocal trio The Victory Belles performed several numbers, including "Happy Birthday."
Mr. Brooks also enjoyed military plane flyovers courtesy of the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and The Big Easy Wing. The museum also presented Mr. Brooks with a cake, a recorded message from the museum's president and CEO. He also received nearly 10,000 birthday cards that were collected as part of a nationwide card drive.
“It is such an honor to have the oldest living U.S. veteran of World War II living so close to our institution, and it was meaningful for us to continue to celebrate Lawrence Brooks and his incredible life in a safe manner this year,” said Amber Mitchell, assistant director of public engagement at The National WWII Museum. “As we continue to lose members of The Greatest Generation, it is so important that we honor these men and women for their bravery and sacrifice while they are with us.”
Brooks was born on September 12, 1909, and served in the predominately African-American 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Phillippines. He has five children and five step-children. His oral history has been recorded by the WWII museum and is available here.
All photos courtesy of The National WWII Museum
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