Lawrence Brooks — the oldest known living American World War II veteran — turned 110 on Thursday in New Orleans and plans to walk his daughter down the aisle when she gets married in December.
Brooks served in the U.S. Army between 1940 and 1945, primarily in the African-American 91st Engineering Battalion in the Pacific theater of the war.
He was born Sept. 12, 1909, during the presidency of Howard Taft.
To give some further perspective, World War II Gen. George S. Patton graduated from West Point that same year.
Brooks was one of 15 children from a farming family who lived in Norwood, near the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans began a tradition of throwing the veteran a birthday party starting in 2014, when he turned 105.
Now considered to be the oldest living American veteran of World War II, Lawrence Brooks is kissed by @VictoryBelles for his 110th birthday celebration @WWIImuseum in #neworleans on Thursday. Photo by Chris Granger #birthday @USArmy #veteran pic.twitter.com/ZfUkN01WxW
— Chris Granger (@chris_granger) September 12, 2019
“We absolutely love Mr. Brooks,” museum vice president Peter Crean told The Times-Picayune. “We’ve told him, ‘As long as you keep having birthdays, we are going to keep having birthday parties for you here.'”
“We consider him ‘our veteran.'”
The museum’s Victory Belles performers were on hand last week to sing for the supercentenarian.
— Marine Corps Times (@Marinetimes) September 12, 2019
Brooks retired as a fork lift operator four decades ago at the age of 70.
The Louisianan had five children (two of whom have predeceased him), and lives with one of his daughters, 59-year-old Vanessa Brooks.
The father plans to walk his daughter down the aisle when she gets married on Dec. 14.
“Brooks not only has promised to walk her down the aisle but also dance, using ‘my third leg,’ as he calls his walker,” according to The Times-Picayune.
“I don’t know why I’ve lived this long,” he told the newspaper. “But I think it has a lot to do with always being nice to people.”
“I’ve started to think about not having many birthdays left,” Brooks added. “But I’m not worried about it, because God has let me live this long already.”
“I think it’s because I’ve always liked people so much. Oh yes, I do.”
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