The oldest living World War II veteran in the nation, Lawrence Brooks, has reached yet another milestone: his 112th birthday!
The National World War II Museum threw him a drive-by party outside of his New Orleans home to celebrate the special occasion. Every year on this day for the past eight years, the residents of the community come together to honor Brooks, and this year was no different.
To make this a birthday to remember, they even surprised Brooks with a performance by his favorite 1940s trio, The Victory Belles, along with many other local musicians. Brooks watched from his front porch, clapping and waving.
Brooks was born in 1909 in a small town called Norwood, Louisiana, and was drafted into the Army in 1940. Although he was honorably discharged after a year, he returned to service just a month later due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, according to People.
Brooks literally paved the way, building roads and bridges while working in mapmaking as part of the 91st Engineer Battalion. He continued working in construction in Australia, putting his skilled hands to good use.
In 1945, Brooks was honorably discharged after the war as a private first class and returned home to Louisiana, where he worked as forklift operator until his retirement in 1979.
At 112, Brooks has watched his family and the generations below him grow over the years. He now has five children, five step-children, 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
When Peter Crean of the National WWII Museum asked Brooks how he’s lived so long, he told him that his motto is “be good to people.”