When it comes to playing the national anthem before a sporting event, there is no universally correct way to do it. Aretha Franklin’s voice made it magical, while others have put us in awe with their rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” All of them are powerful, but there might not be one more touching than this version during Memorial Day weekend.
It’s time for everyone to meet Pete Dupre. He’s a 96-year-old World War II veteran, and he’s incredible at the harmonica. And on a special weekend where Americans honor our service members in the military, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Dupre gave us a performance of a lifetime at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
Standing at midfield before the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) played a friendly soccer match against Mexico, wearing a U.S. Soccer white jersey, khaki pants and a World War II veteran hat, Harmonica Pete overwhelmed us all and went viral on social media.
If that doesn’t give you the chills, it’s hard telling what will. There aren’t many words to accurately describe just how special that was and it undoubtedly moved many to tears.
“I’m a harmonica player. I don’t know a darn thing about music, but I know how to make a harmonica talk.”
— WWII Veteran Pete Dupre, via The Washington Post
Boy, does he ever. The stadium crowd of over 26,000 people went wild when it was over and now millions across the world are getting a chance to see it.
A resident of Fairport, New York, a village just east of Rochester, Dupre was a U.S. Army medic and was stationed in England for three years, according to The Washington Post.
He also got to see a pretty good game. Thanks to goals by Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh and Christen Press, the U.S. Women’s soccer team defeated Mexico 3-0, in their final Send-Off Series game in preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup next month in France.
Then, when it was all over, the 96-year-old WWII veteran greeted the U.S. Women’s National soccer team by the team bus.
The U.S. Women’s National team is favored to win the World Cup when they travel to Europe, but for a moment, none of that mattered.
Watching Pete Dupre play the national anthem on his harmonica completely stole the show, and it’s one of the greatest renditions you will ever see.