HomeNewsOldest WWII Veteran in the Nation Celebrates 112th Birthday, Offers Sage Advice

Oldest WWII Veteran in the Nation Celebrates 112th Birthday, Offers Sage Advice

by John Jamison
(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Youth is wasted on the young. Or so they say. If there was a way to put the wisdom of 112-year old World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks in the head of those a century younger, the world might be a better place. The Lousiana native shared some profound advice on his birthday.

Born in 1909, Brooks was originally a native of Norwood, Louisiana. Since the early 1930s, however, he’s called New Orleans home. It’s hard to comprehend everything Lawrence Brooks has seen in his 112 years walking this Earth. The veteran has lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, Korea, Vietnam, the entire Cold War, multiple conflicts in the Middle East, oh yeah, and two global pandemics.

With that kind of history, when Lawrence Brooks celebrates a birthday, his New Orleans neighborhood pulls out all the stops. He is the oldest living veteran of World War II, after all.

“This is one of the days that the entire staff of the World War II museum looks forward to. We all love Mr. Brooks. 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 you live so long?’ He’s going to tell you, ‘Be nice to people,” a representative of the National WWII Museum told WDSU News.

Apparently, that’s Lawrence Brooks’ favorite piece of advice. Not only is it his secret to long life, but it’s also his challenge to people everywhere. Donald Remy, the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, visited Lawrence ahead of his birthday. What piece of wisdom did the beloved veteran impart?

“serve God and be nice to people,” said Brooks, per WDSU News.

Hard to go wrong living by those words. Lawrence Brooks has been around the block a few times.

WWII Veterans Celebrating Birthdays In Style

Lawrence Brooks takes the cake for the oldest American WWII veteran out there. But many of his former comrades are still going strong into their 100s. Recently, in fact, a few of them have been getting into some pretty crazy activities.

Check out Tom Rice, for example. The 100-year old WWII veteran jumped out of a plane in celebration of his big day. Psh, not even dropping into enemy territory? Piece of cake for someone like Tom. In fact, the veteran intends on repeating the feat when his next birthday rolls around.

How about Loren Helleckson? The 98-year old WWII veteran took the skies, piloting a restored 1940s Stearman biplane.

Pam Swam, the vice president of military relations for Veterans United Home Loans, played a part in making it happen. “We see that we have a small window here to be able to say thank you,” she said of Helleckson and other aging veterans just like him.