A 96-year-old World War II veteran stunned the crowd at a 2019 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team game with his rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner on harmonica.
The veteran, Pete DuPre, is known as “Harmonica Pete” for his harmonica stylings.
Harmonica Whiz Wows Crowd
He performed on the day before Memorial Day for the soccer team’s final game in New Jersey before the FIFA World Cup in France, which they went on to win.
DuPre told “Fox & Friends” that he served in the Army medical corps in England during the war. He had enlisted at age 17 after both of his parents passed away. He wound up serving three years across the Atlantic.
When soldiers suffered an injury, the on-field medics would give them some treatment, but would then transport the soldiers to DuPre and his co-workers for full-time care.
“We were on the other side of the Channel,” DuPre told Fox. “Those patients were brought to us and our job was to start to put them back together again. Just that simple.”
DuPre played The Star-Spangled Banner on the harmonica that his father had bought him for fifty cents some untold years ago. He taught himself how to play it and has kept it by his side ever since.
“If I’m on a plane, I play the harmonica. If I’m on a train, I play the harmonica,” he told CBS News. And “if I wake up in the middle of the night, I play my harmonica, and I play myself back to sleep.”
Traveling from Event to Event
DuPre said it was “fascinating” to hear the crowd fall silent during his performance. And he said he’s grateful to have a chance to demonstrate his patriotic pride.
“[The song] represents my country, my people, and it’s a marvelous thing for me to be sitting in this position right now to amplify that,” DuPre said. “To just get it across, that the U.S. is a great place and we are trying to maintain peace around the world.”
Later that year, DuPre lulled a stadium full of New York Knicks fans into silence at Madison Square Garden with another rendition of the national anthem. In November, DuPre performed before the Knicks’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And last February, DuPre managed to perform at West Point before the Army vs. Navy basketball game.
“I’m honored to be here. I’m an Army guy,” he said. “So, being able to play here is like Mecca. It’s a key place to go.”