The City of Baton Rouge is hosting the Capital Region Veteran's Parade sponsored by the Mayor-President's Advisory Council on Veteran's Affairs in downtown on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The parade will run down River Road starting in front of the Pentagon Barracks and ending at the USS Kidd. The parade will honor the service, sacrifices and selflessness of our veterans.
We are blessed and fortunate as a city to honor three one-hundred-year-old World War II Veterans – Warrant Officer Johnnie A. Jones Sr., Corporal Leon Dixon Sr., and the oldest World War II Veteran in the United States: Private First-Class Lawrence Brooks. There will be live music by Jonathan Boogie Long, food vendors and cold beverages as well as speakers to include General Russell Honoré and Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome.
Johnnie Jones, Sr. was born in Laurel Hill, La., in 1919. After completing sixth grade, he worked for Ransom Lumber Company in Woodville, Miss., where he lived with his boss, Mr. Hergen, and tutored Hergen's son, Buddy. Jones later was sent to live with his uncle in Scotlandville, La., to begin his high school education at Southern University Demonstration School. He went on to Southern University for a year and a half until he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in World War II. He was one of the first African-American warrant officers and he took part in the D-Day invasion, landing in the third wave at Omaha Beach. After the war, Jones returned to Southern University to finish his bachelor's degree in psychology. After graduating, he married Sebell Chase and worked for two years at the post office. He then went on to Southern University Law School and earned his law degree in 1953. Jones' legal career included several landmark civil rights cases.
Lawrence Brooks, born September 12, 1909, served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during WWII. He was a support worker for officers in his battalion, performing any task asked of him. Brooks attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war.
Born in 1918 in the midst of World War 1 in Batchelor, Louisiana, Leon Ninie Dixon served almost three years in the United States Army after being drafted in May 1942. He wanted to enlist in the Navy, but they didn't want people of color, he said of an earlier attempt to get into World War 11, adding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 changed all of that. Before this Americans were not too concerned about the War. He was drafted at the age of 23 and went through basic training at Fort Pork in Leesville, Lauisiana , then it was on to Fort Bennings, Georgia for infantry training. He was’nt in the States long before they shipped him to North Africa. That sneak attact on Pearl Harbor hurried things along. He said his military service took him from North Africa to Italy then France and ultimately to Germany. He was in Munich ( Mule Nike) when the Russians got to Berlin to end the war in Europe. He said he had never been out of Louisiana so he enjoyed seeing everything over there and going to places he never would've seen otherwise. He said that was one of the best experiences he ever had. After spending 32 months in the Army most of it overseas, he ended his tour of duty and returned home, his memories of the war were mixed. He enjoyed the adventure. His unit lost some men and he admitted it was definitely scary. It was no party. He served under the famous blood and guts General George Patten Jr. in an artillery ( Are Till ray) division as a commander over a five men searchlight team. He stayed in the Army in Europe until after the invasion of Berlin. The war against Japan was all that was left when he got out as a corporal , but after we dropped those atom bombs on Japan they surrendered. After his return to Louisiana he went into the logging business for a while, worked for a contractor building the Morganza Spillway. For a spell, then spent six years working for Kaiser Aluminum. 1 Capital Region GM Bios OCT 28, 2019 Dixon Trucking got its start in the late 1960's and it is now run by sons. This product seems to be his greatest accomplishment and source of pride He married the former Sedonia Richard whom he met after he returned from the war. He got out of the service in 1948 and moved into the house he is still in on Morningside Street the night he got married. His wife Sedonia passed away in 1994 He said he is going to stay widower because he don't think he ever going to be able to find another women as good as her. He has two products nine children seven sons and two daughters. He is quite proud of them and what he and his wife were able to do for them. We were fortunate enough to be able to give them what we weren't able to get for ourselves, an education. He is proud that all of their children earned their high school diplomas and four went on to earn college degrees.