When Lawrence Brooks entered the world on September 12, 1909, William Howard Taft was President of the United States, Jared Sanders was Governor of Louisiana and codified voting rights for Blacks was still more than half a century away.

Brooks, who was born in Norwood but moved to New Orleans during the Great Depression, celebrated his 112th birthday Sunday at his home in the Crescent City as family, friends and admirers saluted America's oldest living World War II veteran with a drive-by celebration.

Enters the Army and WWII

Brooks entered the US Army in 1940 and served until the war ended in 1945. He was part of the 91st Engineering Battalion and was station throughout the Pacific theater, primarily in New Guinea and the Philippines.

Following his military service, the then 37-year-old Brooks returned to New Orleans where he married and had five children. He now has 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. His wife passed away in 2005.

According to NOLA.com, "After his 110th birthday, his daughter, Vanessa, said that her father is blind in his right eye and his vision is failing in his left, but that his hearing is remarkable and he’s never had heart problems, cancer or any other major illness - aside from low blood pressure and dehydration."

Greetings from the Governor

Brooks was congratulated on his special day by a number of dignitaries, including Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who said, "Happy 112th birthday to Mr. Lawrence Brooks, America’s oldest living World War II veteran and a proud Louisianan. Mr. Brooks, the entire state of Louisiana thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday."

Brooks' birthday event was organized by New Orleans' National World War II Museum.

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