Even before the U.S. National Women’s soccer team’s match with Mexico kicked off on Sunday, the crowd at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey was brought to its feet by Pete DuPré, a 96-year-old World War II vet and his pregame harmonica performance of the national anthem.
While the crowd begins the anthem in relative silence, they begin to sing along about halfway through before roaring as DuPré brought the anthem to a close.
DuPré served as a medic during World War II and his parents were both part of the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War I. He also already had a pretty sterling reputation for his harmonica performance even before Sunday’s nationally televised performance. Known as “Harmonica Pete,” DuPré has performed the anthem for a variety of sporting events and ceremonies over the years.
He also has a special relationship with the USWNT as the team met him and other veterans on a visit to Normandy, France back in January ahead of a friendly match against France’s team.
He also got to say goodbye to the team as they loaded up the bus following their 3-0 victory over Mexico.
That it was Memorial Day weekend only added weight to DuPré’s anthem and it just so happened to be the USWNT’s last match before they head to France to defend their title in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
DuPré’s anthem was a huge hit on Twitter as viewers shared their reactions to the stellar performance.
Awestruck! He needed a wheelchair to leave the field, but stood there and played the anthem, tough as nails! I think of how many times he might have played this in a foxhole or at camp during WWII. Thank you for your service, you are a true hero!
— Ron Jobmann (@codak3) May 26, 2019
Best national anthem I’ve ever heard!
— Jeremy Wilkerson (@j_e_r_emy) May 26, 2019
Well.. this is the best thing I’ll see all day. 🇺🇸🦅🇺🇸
— MileHighJustice (@notstevevai) May 26, 2019
As for the USWNT, their World Cup defense begins on June 11 as they open group stage play against Thailand.