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Oldest Living WWII Vet Celebrates 112th Birthday

Lawrence Brooks is the oldest known living World War II Veteran after turning 112 on September 12th, 2021.

Credit: YouTube/CBS Mornings

Lawrence Brooks celebrated his 112th birthday on September 12th, 2021, making him the oldest World War II veteran alive. The vivacious New Orleans native stood on his wheelchair and danced during his celebration, which has been thrown the past eight years by the World War II Museum in Louisiana. This is Brook’s third year as a supercentenarian, a special term that indicates that someone is 110 years of age or older. An achievement such as this deserves a parade, brass bands, and chocolate cake, which is exactly what Lawrence Brooks got.

Born on September 12th, 1909 in Norwood Louisiana, Brooks has seen two world wars and surpassed the 20th century in high spirits. He is one of 15 children and fathered 5 of his own over the course of his lifetime, and his legacy doesn’t stop there; Brooks is a grandfather to 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Drafted in 1940, Brooks’s served until 1945 as a private in the 91st Engineer Battalion stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines. He built roads, bridges, and landing strips for airplanes.

“As long as you keep having birthdays, we’re going to keep throwing your birthday party,” asserts Peter Crean, Vice President of the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster of The National WWII Museum

And Crean isn’t the only one inspired by Brooks’ longevity. More than 21,000 people from across the globe wrote Brooks happy birthday letters. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards tweeted “happy 112th birthday to Mr. Lawrence Brooks, America’s oldest living World War II Vet and a proud Louisianan.”

His wife, Leona Brooks, died in 2008, but lives on in memory. As a child, Leona wrote letters to soldiers serving in World War II, and Lawrence Brooks just so happened to be the receiver of these uplifting letters. He kept them and brought them with him everywhere until the pair finally met and fell in love. The rest is (American) history.

Image Credit: Picryl

The Victory Belles performing at the WWII Museum in Louisiana to celebrate Lawrence Brooks’ 112th birthday

When asked about his secret, Brooks lived up to his famously kind reputation, claiming “my mother and father always raised me to love people, and I don’t care what kind of people they are.” You heard it here first; according to Brooks, the key to living forever is kindness! Be kind to those around you, and you, too, can hope to one day get up and dance on your 112th birthday.

Peter Crean, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, the state of Louisiana, and 21,000 people across the globe all agree that Lawrence Brooks should be regarded as a national treasure. “He is important to this museum, this city, and our country,” declares Crean, who brought the band Victory Belles to the museum, just for Brooks’ birthday.

Same time again, next year? One thing’s for sure (and World War II Vet Lawrence Brooks agrees): kindness truly does make the world go ‘round. Do unto others as you would have done to you, and supercentenarian status might not be so far-fetched. Happy birthday, Lawrence Brooks, and thank you for serving our country!

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