75 years after D-Day, this living legend, Lawrence Brooks, is now 110 years old and is now considered the oldest living American World War II veteran. This man has seen so much in his lifetime. Now living in New Orleans, Lawrence enjoys the company of his friends, but his life hasn’t been easy. His life, like many, has been filled with headache and hardship, but he has not let anything drag him down.
Lawrence Brooks was born on September 12, 1909.
Lawrence Brooks served his country overseas from 1941-1945 in the 91st Engineer Battalion on tour in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Australia. But after first being enlisted, he offered to be the cook for the men in his unit. The thought of killing people made Lawrence sick and he couldn’t bear it.
“…the sergeant was telling us we had to get training to go kill people. Kill people? You mean, as much as I love people, you tellin’ me I got to go kill them?” explains Lawrence in an interview with CBS This Morning.
After returning home to Louisianna, he battled with prejudices in the South, worked as a forklift driver and retired at 70 years old. He had five children, has 13 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren. Sadly, Lawrence lost his wife in 2005 when hurricane Katrina rattled through New Orleans, destroying everything in its path. The hurricane took everything he had, but he still remains positive and upbeat.
He just celebrated his 110th birthday.
Crediting his long life to walks and chewing gum when he gave up smoking, the well-loved veteran has created a following and the National World War II Museum has a yearly birthday celebration in his honor. The party began back in 2014 when the museum’s former vice president, Lee Crean, had heard that Lawrence was an “old vet.” The two met at church and Lee decided he wanted to do something to honor Lawrence’s service.
The yearly tradition has now turned into a giant annual celebration with family, friends, guests, and other service members coming to show their appreciation for the veteran. Everyone loves Lawrence. He is a cheerful person to be around. When asked the secret to his success, Lawrence explains that it is his love for people that has kept him going all of these years.
“I love people,” Lawrence simply states and it is the motto he lives by.
“The Lord was just good to me,” giggles Lawrence as he recalls the events of his life.
Although Lawrence is in a wheelchair and is blind in one eye, he does not let his age or his physical ailments slow him down. He is the life of the party and as the United State’s oldest living World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks deserves all of the honor and respect that we can give. We are grateful to be following in this man’s footsteps and are thankful for his service to his country.
Watch more of Lawrence’s story below!
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Source: CBS This Morning