(WDSU/NBC) – Sunday marked a very special birthday for a very special man. Army veteran Lawrence Brooks of New Orleans turned 112.

Brooks is the nation’s oldest World War II veteran.

He was born in Norwood, Louisiana, in 1909 and moved to New Orleans before being drafted into the Army in 1940. He deployed with the 91st Engineers Battalion.

His friends and neighbors threw him a proper New Orleans party to celebrate.

Brooks has five children, 13 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.

When asked about the secret to longevity, he says, “Serve God, and be nice to people.”