NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A World War II veteran celebrated a milestone birthday.

Lawrence Brooks was born in 1909.

Now at 110, he’s believed to be the oldest living American World War II veteran, a feat worthy of pomp, circumstance, and a 5-star serenade at the war’s National Museum.
“I love people,” says Brooks as the credit to his longevity.

And people love Brooks. Many of them showed up to celebrate, even complete strangers.

From 1941 to 1945, Brooks served overseas with the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion in places like Australia and New Guinea.

Brooks credits his good health and longevity with long walks and chewing gum, a habit he used to replace cigarettes.

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