We’ve all heard “The Star-Spangled Banner” dozens of times in our lifetime, but we doubt you’ve ever heard anything quite as moving as the anthem performed on the harmonica.
Prior to a U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team match on Sunday (May 26, 2019) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, 96-year-old Pete DuPre was wheeled onto the field where a microphone awaited him. He rose from his wheelchair and took his place, harmonica in hand, to perform the national anthem. The crowd instantly went silent as DuPre began to play the familiar melody.
As the WWII veteran, affectionately known as Harmonica Pete, concluded his performance, the crowd erupted. DuPre returned to his wheelchair and waved to the crowd as he exited.
Harmonica Pete’s timely performance came one day before Memorial Day, the national holiday that allows Americans to stop and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. According to NJ.com DuPre served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England. His parents served on the Western Front during World War I.
DuPre met members of the US Soccer Women’s National Team at Omaha Beach in France, the site of D-Day. The fateful meeting led to Pete’s performance of the anthem. The team took to Twitter following Sunday’s game to share their love for Pete.
Harmonica Pete became an overnight star, his performance drawing praise from athletes, fans, and proud Americans.
Hear Pete DuPre perform the national anthem on the harmonica in the video below. Thank you for your service, Mr. DuPre.