Louisiana’s Lawrence Brooks has been a proud veteran — and a shining example of Black excellence in the military — for a remarkable 76 years. And, on Sept. 12, 2021, he also carried on another incredible feat: his role as the United States’ oldest living World War II veteran, turning 112.
CNN’s Gregory Lemos reported that Brooks celebrated the day as you should in the midst of a global pandemic, with a “socially distanced, drive-by celebration at his home in New Orleans.”
Happy Birthday to Mr. Lawrence Brooks of NOLA! At 112, Mr. Brooks is the oldest living WWII vet in the US. pic.twitter.com/ane7Hczqcz
— National WWII Museum (@WWIImuseum) September 12, 2021
According to Lemos and the National WWII Museum, “Brooks was honored on his birthday, Sept. 12, with a Jeep parade, cake and performances from the Museum’s ‘Victory Belles,’ as well as other local musicians.”
A notable member of the predominantly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, Brooks was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines. After the war ended, he returned to the U.S., becoming the father of five children and five stepchildren.
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
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards marked Brooks’ historic birthday with a tweet, saying, “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.”
The City of New Orleans also issued an official proclamation marking the occasion, thanking Brooks for his service to the nation on his milestone birthday.
Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.