- Lawrence Brooks, the oldest known US World War II veteran, turned 112 on Sunday.
- The National World War II Museum in New Orleans threw him a party with music and a Jeep parade.
- Brooks served in the US military's predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion.
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At 112 years old, Lawrence Brooks is the oldest known US World War II veteran alive today. In past years, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, hosted birthday parties in his honor. This year, organizers got creative to give Brooks a memorable and COVID-conscious celebration on his front porch.
Born September 12, 1909, Brooks was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines as part of the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion. He worked as a servant to three white officers.
In the museum's collection of oral histories, Brooks talked about throwing loads of barbed wire into the ocean after one of the engines on his C-47 plane went out, laughing as he recalled his banter with the pilot and co-pilot.
He eventually achieved the rank of private first class.
He now lives in New Orleans and is the father of five children and five stepchildren. His wife, Leona B. Brooks, died in 2008 at the age of 81.
At the party on Sunday, the National WWII Museum's vocal trio, The Victory Belles, serenaded Brooks as staff presented him with cake and cards.
Then, participants drove by with celebratory signs in a Jeep parade sponsored by Kajun Outcast Jeep Club and Northshore Wrangler Association.
The parade was accompanied by a collective of local musicians who dubbed themselves the Lawrence Brooks Birthday Band.
"Mr. Brooks' birthday is a significant reminder of those who have served and continue to dedicate their lives to our freedom," the museum said in a statement. "The National WWII Museum's ongoing educational mission is to tell the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn."