Having served as a help employee within the predominantly Black American 91st Engineer Battalion, earlier than reaching the rank of personal top quality, Lawrence Brooks is the oldest US World Conflict II veteran who’s now gearing up for his 111th birthday on September 11. As an alternative of throwing a celebration for him like they do yearly, Nationwide World Conflict II Museum is on the lookout for folks to ship him greeting playing cards as a substitute.
Whereas cupcakes and musical efficiency by the museum’s vocal trio – the Victory Belles, household, veterans, and present army service members marked the celebrations of Brooks’ 110th birthday, COVID-19 has dampened the cheer this 12 months. Considering new revolutionary methods to mark the celebrations nonetheless, the museum got here all the way down to an old-fashioned thought.
Amber Mitchell, Assistant Director of Public Engagement on the Nationwide World Conflict II Museum advised CNN, “We simply thought there must be a way that we are able to nonetheless have fun him in a method that’s secure but additionally will get extra folks concerned.” She added, “We aren’t capable of collect in ways in which we’re used to, we are able to at all times invent new methods to attach or rediscover previous methods, such as you would with a birthday card. I imply, who doesn’t need to write a card to an individual who’s 111 years previous?”
The letters could be delivered to:
The Nationwide WWII Museum
c/o Completely happy 111th Mr. Brooks!
945 Journal Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
In 2005, Brooks had misplaced his spouse, Leona, following their evacuation by helicopter throughout Hurricane Katrina. Retired, Brooks now lives within the Central Metropolis neighborhood of New Orleans along with his daughter and caretaker, Vanessa Brooks and is commonly flanked by his 5 kids, 5 step-children, 13 grandchildren and greater than 20 great-grandchildren.
In a 2015 oral historical past interview, Brooks recounted how one of many C-47 airplane’s engines went out when he was stationed in World Conflict II’s Pacific theater as a younger soldier tasked with carrying a cargo of barbed wire from Australia to New Guinea. The airplane was solely outfitted with two parachutes and with a view to stabilize the airplane, Brooks together with the pilot and co-pilot lobbed a great deal of wire into the ocean.
If even that may have failed, Brooks remembered that he had joked about grabbing onto the pilot if the later jumped. Surviving that shut name, Brooks had shared within the interview, “It was a scary second however we made it.”