A time to celebrate!
Lawrence Brooks, the United States’ oldest living World War II veteran, is turning 111 this week, according to Upworthy. He was born in Norwood, Louisiana in 1909, one of 15 children. When he enlisted he served in the predominantly Black 91st Engineer Battalion between 1941 and 1945 and was stationed in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Australia.
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, where he’s celebrated his five previous birthdays, has a surprise for the centenarian. Due to the pandemic, the museum isn’t hosting it’s usually party for him but they still plan to make it a birthday Brooks won’t forget. They’re asking for cards and other birthday wishes for the veteran.
“This year our birthday celebration of America’s oldest living WWII veteran Lawrence Brooks will look a little different. With the global pandemic, we must forgo our traditional get together in favor of some socially distanced fun,” the museum posted to its Facebook page. “Mr. Brooks, a New Orleans native, will turn 111 this year, and we are asking everyone to send in birthday cards to the Museum so that we can deliver them to his home.”
Since sending out the birthday requests the museum has had an immense response, The Epoch Times reported. They are expecting between 300-700 cards, possibly more, and already have a “full bin” to deliver to Brooks. Along with the cards the museum has planned to produce a video tribute for social media, a “socially distanced performance’ from their vocal trio – The Victory Belles – and cake. The Commemorative Air Force’s “Big Easy Wing” near the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, will also conduct a flyer over in Brooks honor.
Although Brooks, who served as a military cook, saw himself as a reluctant solider uninterested in training to kill people he said he’s proud of his history with the military — however, complicated.
WWII ended 75 years ago today. The war was won thanks to the bravery of men like Lawrence Brooks.
Read more about Lawrence Brooks who still lives: https://t.co/alIvm2WWGAadvertisement
— US Embassy Tanzania (@usembassytz) September 2, 2020
“I was treated so much better in Australia than I was by my own white people. I wondered about that,” he said in a 2019 interview with CBS This Morning: Saturday. “Every time I think about it, I’d get angry so the best thing I’d do is just leave it go.”
He said once he returned from the war, the racial climate was improved. His motto for happiness and longevity, however, hasn’t changed.
“Serve God, and be nice to people.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a traditional gathering can’t take place this year. Instead, WWII Museum officials are hoping that New Orleanians will send Brooks a birthday card to commemorate his special day. Here’s how: https://t.co/uTaQe4dcLg
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) August 29, 2020advertisement
If you wish to send Brooks birthday well wishes you can send them here:
The National WWII Museum
c/o Happy 111th Mr. Brooks!
945 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Happy Birthday, Mr. Brooks! Thank you for your service.
Photo Credit: The National WWII Museum