All eyes and ears were on 96-year-old Pete DuPré Sunday as the World War II veteran stunned a New Jersey stadium with a poignant rendition of the national anthem performed on his harmonica.
Just ahead of Memorial Day, DuPré kicked off the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s (USWNT) Sunday matchup against Mexico at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, with his harmonica in hand. After waving his World War II veteran hat to the crowd, DuPré launched into a touching version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the crowd to enjoy.
— ESPN (@espn) May 26, 2019
DuPré has performed the national anthem before, and his musical talents have earned him the nickname “Harmonica Pete.” USWNT told Nj.com that the veteran served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England, for three years during the war. He treated wounded service members from all over Europe.
The veteran actually met the players of the U.S. women’s team on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, in January of this year. Center midfielder Carli Lloyd raved about the experience at the time, saying it was one of the best things she’s ever done off-field for the U.S. team.
“We love Pete so much,” a post on the team’s official Twitter account Sunday read, complete with hearts and crying face emojis.
❤️😭❤️😭we love Pete so much. pic.twitter.com/Lxd3Xqo9eu
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) May 26, 2019
WWII vet Pete Dupre just delivered the best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard — on the harmonica. #USAvMEX just kicked off for the last game of the #USWNT’s send-off series. pic.twitter.com/PddPp8ra2R
— Laurel Wamsley (@laurelwamsley) May 26, 2019
The U.S. women’s national team beat Mexico 3-0, securing their entrance into next month’s FIFA World Cup undefeated since January.
The tournament kicks off in Paris on June 7.