To celebrate Lawrence Brooks turning 112, his friends, family, neighbors, and well-wishers pulled out all the stops.
Brooks is the oldest known living World War II veteran. His birthday was Sunday, and the festivities included a Jeep parade by Brooks' New Orleans home featuring vehicles decorated with balloons and signs, musical performances from the Victory Belles and two brass bands, and lots of cake.
"We all love Mr. Brooks," says Peter Crean, a vice president at the National World War II Museum. "He represents so much. He represents a generation that helped save the world. He's just a wonderful person. If you ask Mr. Brooks how did he live so long, he's going to tell you, 'Be nice to people.'"
During World War II, Brooks was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines, serving in the 91st Engineer Battalion. "He means so much to his community, to his church, to the National World War II Museum, and as the oldest World War II veteran in the United States, he means a lot to this nation," Crean said. In Brooks' honor, the City of New Orleans issued an official proclamation recognizing his birthday, while Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) tweeted to Brooks that the entire state "thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday."