The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch

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The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch
World War II Veteran Lawrence Brooks celebrated his 112th birthday on September 12, 2021. The National WWII Museum
  • 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.

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.

The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch
At his party in 2019, Brooks held up a photo of him taken in 1943. Gerald Herbert/AP

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.

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He eventually achieved the rank of private first class.

The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch
World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks celebrates his 112th birthday on his front porch. The National WWII Museum

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.

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The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch
Lawrence Brooks is serenaded by The Victory Belles, the vocal trio of the National WWII Museum. The National WWII Museum

Then, participants drove by with celebratory signs in a Jeep parade sponsored by Kajun Outcast Jeep Club and Northshore Wrangler Association.

The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch
Participants in a Jeep parade celebrate Lawrence Brooks' birthday. The National WWII Museum

The parade was accompanied by a collective of local musicians who dubbed themselves the Lawrence Brooks Birthday Band.

The oldest World War II veteran turned 112 with a heartwarming socially distant birthday party on his porch
The Lawrence Brooks Birthday Band plays outside Brooks' home. The National WWII Museum

"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."

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