96-Year-Old WWII Veteran Performs National Anthem on Harmonica — and the Crowd Goes Wild
Following his incredible performance, Pete DuPré — known as "Harmonica Pete" — returned to his wheelchair and smiled as he waved jubilantly to the crowd
On Sunday, the spotlight was on the U.S. Women’s National Team as they bested Mexico in an exhibition soccer match. But first, it was on Pete DuPré.
In a video shared by ESPN, the 96-year-old World War II veteran took center pitch ahead of Memorial Day to entertain the crowd before the friendly match held at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where he performed the national anthem on his harmonica.
Wearing a “World War II Veteran” hat and USA soccer shirt, DuPré removed his cap in greeting to the excited gatherers before replacing it and beginning the first notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The audience grew respectably silent throughout the majority of the expertly carried-out song, but were unable to contain their cheers as the last bars played.
Following his incredible performance, DuPré — known as “Harmonica Pete” — returned to his wheelchair and smiled as he waved jubilantly to the crowd.
Another video, shared by the USWNT, saw the musically inclined veteran giving the women hugs and high-fives as they boarded their bus following the game, which they won 3-0.
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According to a USWNT statement given to NJ.com, “During WWII, DuPré served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England. At age 17, both of his parents had already died, making him the acting patriarch of a five-person family.”
“Within a year, Pete had enlisted in the Army serving three years overseas during which time he treated wounded servicemen from all areas of Europe,” the statement continued.
And Sunday was not the first time DuPré has performed in front of a crowd, or worked hand in hand with the USWNT. In January, he joined the team and other World War II veterans on the beaches of Normandy, France.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup officially kicks off on June 7, with a match between France and South Korea in Paris. The U.S. will first square off against Thailand on June 11 in Reims, France.