Honoring Lawrence Brooksby Representative Cedric L. Richmond
Posted on 2014-09-15
in the house of representatives
Monday, September 15, 2014
Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. Lawrence
Nathaniel Brooks, Sr. Mr. Brooks, a World War II veteran and Louisiana
resident, celebrated his 105th birthday on September 12, 2014.
Mr. Brooks was born in 1909 in Norwood, Louisiana. He joined the United States Army in 1940 and did basic training at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Serving our country was a family legacy for Mr. Brooks. He had three uncles who fought in World War I, and his brother, Chester, was a member of the United States Coast Guard.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor would change Mr. Brooks' life forever. Shortly thereafter he was called to duty. He served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. He served three white officers in his battalion, and his daily routine included cleaning the officers' sheets, shining their shoes, making sure their uniforms were clean, and accomplishing any task these officers asked of him. Brooks attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war. During his service, he had two alarming encounters. While he was stationed in New Guinea, the Japanese bombed the base where he was located. Additionally, Mr. Brooks was on a C-47 going from Australia to New Guinea, transporting a load of barbed wire when one of the engines went out. The crew had to work quickly to lighten up the load in order to make the plane light enough to continue on.
A true New Orleanian, even Hurricane Katrina couldn't keep Mr. Brooks away from the city he loves for too long. A few days after the levees failed and the city flooded, Mr. Brooks moved to Los Angeles. However, he returned to New Orleans a little more than a year later.
Mr. Brooks' most enduring legacy is his engagement and involvement with his community in New Orleans. He is widely known as a pillar of his community and regularly volunteers at his church, St. Luke's.
Mr. Brooks was married to the late Leona B. Brooks, and he is a father of five, grandfather of thirteen, great-grandfather of 19, and great-great grandfather of 2, and he is loved by even more. He is known for his love of dance, and has committed to enjoying and celebrating life.
The National World War II Museum, which I proudly represent, recently hosted a celebration for Mr. Brooks. During the celebration, he was honored by the Museum, the Veterans' Administration, and a host of national and local organizations. It is my honor to introduce Mr. Brooks to the country. I invite everyone to join me in congratulating Mr. Lawrence Brooks on a life well-lived, and wishing him the best.