Humble 96-year-old WWII veteran brings stadium to tears with harmonica anthem

Just when we thought we’d heard every rendition of the national anthem, along comes someone who proves us all completely wrong.

During World War II, Peter B. DuPré served as a medic for the United States Army stationed in England.

In his old age, “Harmonica Pete” captivated audiences worldwide with his remarkable performances – especially this one, where he performed the national anthem before a crowd of 26,000 soccer fans.

In 2019, Pete was invited to perform the anthem on Memorial Day weekend as the U.S. women’s national soccer team faced off against Mexico in its final exhibition match before the upcoming Women’s World Cup. As the players stood in solemn tribute before the game, a reverent silence fell over the stadium as the elderly man, donning a “World War II Veteran” hat adorned with pins and medals, took center stage.

He began the song with a deliberate pace, and as the familiar melody resonated throughout the stadium, it became evident that Pete was more than just an amateur. He possessed genuine talent for the harmonica, an instrument he humbly referred to as his “voice.”

Credit: ESPN / YouTube.

“I am a harmonica player,” he modestly stated in an interview with the Washington Post. “I don’t know a darn thing about music, but I know how to make a harmonica talk.”

And talk it did. Pete’s performance was flawless, captivating the audience with each soulful note. As he reached the anthem’s climactic crescendo, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause, unable to contain their admiration for the harmonica maestro. Even before he concluded his performance, it was clear that the video would soon become a viral sensation on social media.

Despite the overwhelming response to his performance, Pete remained humble, downplaying his musical prowess. “This was just the simple ‘Star-Spangled Banner‘ the way it was written, and played the way it was meant to be played,” he remarked.

Following ESPN’s online sharing of the video, “Harmonica Pete” indeed became an internet sensation, amassing over 9 million views across Twitter and Facebook.

At the time, Pete was 96 years old. He lived a long and happy life, and was finally laid to rest in January 2022, aged 98, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.

Who among us doesn’t feel a shiver down the spine every time we hear the ‘Star-Spangled Banner‘?

Now, consider the fact that this remarkable gentleman had lived nearly a century and still possessed the energy and talent to leave us spellbound — truly a testament to the enduring power of music to inspire and uplift.


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