New Orleans celebrates America’s oldest WWII veteran on his 111th birthday

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    The oldest known US veteran of WWII turned 111 over the weekend, inspiring a socially distanced celebration held by the local museum. 

    Born in 1909, Lawrence Brooks turned 111 on Saturday, September 12th. During WWII, he served in the predominantly African American 91st Engineer Battalion, and was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines.  

    The National WWII museum, located in New Orleans, typically holds Brook’s birthday celebration on the museum campus each year, but made some adjustments for the pandemic – they brought the celebration to him, reported CNN.

    The museum’s vocal trio, known as ‘The Victory Belles,” sang some tunes from Brooks’s front yard while the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and the Big Easy Wing performed a military flyover.

    In addition to all of the fanfare, the museum held a national card drive for Brooks, collecting nearly 10,000 cards wishing him a happy birthday and thanking him for his service. 

    “It is such an honor to have the oldest living US veteran of World War II living so close to our institution, and it was meaningful for us to continue to celebrate Lawrence Brooks and his incredible life in a safe manner this year,” said Amber Mitchell, the museum’s assistant director of public engagement in a news release.

    On top of being a veteran, Brooks is a proud father, grandfather, and great grandfather to five children, five stepchildren, 12 grandchildren, and 23 great grandchildren.

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