Commentary

96-Year-Old WWII Vet Brings Down the House with Stirring National Anthem Before NBA Game

He even had the Knicks fans cheering.

When 96-year-old Peter DuPré took the court Sunday at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the crowd knew they were about to hear “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

What they probably didn’t know what that they were going to get one of the proudest but most plaintive versions of that stirring song any one of them had ever heard.

But as DuPré has proven at sporting events on the national and international stage before: When it comes to “Harmonica Pete,” that’s exactly what you get.

Check out DuPré’s Sunday night performance here. You’ll have the tune in your ears for hours.

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The pre-Veterans Day performance was far from the first time DuPre has been the center of attention.

In May, he helped send the U.S. Women’s National Team off to their ultimately successful World Cup campaign by playing the national anthem before the USWNT’s final exhibition game, against Mexico, in Harrison, New Jersey.

Were you surprised by this vet's stunning anthem rendition?

That rendition went viral, too, drawing more than 9 million viewers on Facebook and Twitter within two days, The Washington Post reported.

There’s no doubt the views were powered by the combination of talent, power and reverence that comes through from the first note to the last.

DuPré, who served as a surgical and medical technician in England the war, has been playing harmonica all his life, according to The Post, since his father managed to save 50 cents during the Depression to buy him one when he was a boy.

Neither could have imagined DuPré would one day be entertaining national audiences with that boyhood skill.

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And as the reaction to his performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Madison Square Garden showed, the Fairport, New York, man has still got it.

“This should be recognized as one of the best sporting event National Anthems ever,” one Twitter user wrote.

Naturally, fans of the dismal New York Knicks, staring straight at yet another season of basketball frustration, might have been thrilled by DuPré’s performance too, but that didn’t stop some mordant humor from slipping through.

It’s good they’re keeping their sense of humor, too.

The Knicks lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-87.

But, man, they have a great “Star-Spangled Banner” to remember it by.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
Birthplace
Philadelphia
Nationality
American




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