96-year-old WWII veteran Pete DuPré performed national anthem on the hermonica before USWNT vs. Mexico.

Elsa/Getty Images

WATCH: 96-year-old World War II veteran plays national anthem on harmonica before U.S. women’s soccer game

May 27, 2019 - 9:51 am
Categories: 

By Ben Krimmel

Over twenty-six thousand came to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Sunday to see the United States Women's National Team play Mexico in one of their final tune-up matches before the FIFA World Cup.

And it didn't take long for the game to have it's first "Wow" moment. In fact, it came before kickoff from a man known as “Harmonica Pete."

On Memorial Day weekend, 96-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPre dazzled the American fans and players with his harmonica rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

DuPre served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England during the Second World War. After both his parents died he was the acting patriarch of a five-person family at the age of 17. And within a year, DuPre had enlisted in the U.S. Army before serving three years overseas during which time he treated wounded servicemen from all areas of Europe.

Earlier this year while playing in Europe, the U.S. women met DuPre and other World War II vets when the team visited Normandy. 

"It was the most humbling thing I think I've ever been a part of," U.S. Capt. Carli Lloyd said of the visit. "They've literally saved the world. And to hear their stories, what they went through, and how they're now sharing those stories, after so many years. I don't think any of us really get the real feel of what they went through." 

After the anthem, thanks to an early goal from Tobin Heath off an El Tri error and second-half scores from youngster Mallory Pugh and veteran Christen Press, the Americans had an easy time dispatching their Mexican counterparts, 3-0. The U.S. will now travel back to France for the World Cup, facing Thailand, Chile, and Sweden in the group stage beginning June 11.

And the view of DuPre's anthem from the pressbox, provided by Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, may be even better than the telecast. 

Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Related: Green Berets parachute into Mont Saint-Michel to commemorate 75th anniversary