The oldest known American veteran of World War II, Lawrence Brooks, died this week at 112 years of age.
Brooks, who served in the US military starting at age 31, was drafted a few weeks after Pearl Harbor was attacked. At the time, the military was still segregated.
In an interview with The Military Times, Brooks recalled sleeping in separate tents from his white counterparts when serving in the mostly African American 91st Engineer Battalion, stationed in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines.
According to NPR, Brooks’ daughter had been working on replacing some of his military uniforms and insignia, lost in Hurricane Katrina. She managed to replace many of the items before he passed away on Wednesday morning after a long battle with his health.
Brooks was “a beloved friend, a man of great faith and had a gentle spirit that inspired those around him,” said Stephen Watson, President and Chief Executive of the National World War II Museum. When Brooks was asked what his secret was to staying so healthy and living to such an advanced age, Brooks replied, “Be nice to people.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ABC NEWS
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