On the day before Memorial Day, 96-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPre will perform the national anthem on his harmonica prior to the U.S.’s final Send-Off Series match at Red Bull Arena before the Americans leave for France and the Women’s World Cup.
DuPre, who is also known as “Harmonica Pete,” will perform before the U.S. meets Mexico in Harrison, N.J. (11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN) Sunday.
During WWII, DuPre served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England. At 17, both of his parents had already died, making him the acting patriarch of a five-person family. Within a year, DuPre had enlisted in the Army. He served three years overseas during which time he treated wounded servicemen from all areas of Europe.
Last January before the U.S.’s match against France in Le Havre – which will be the venue for the Americans’ third Group F match against Sweden next month – a group of U.S. players traveled to Omaha Beach and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial where they spent time with four WWII veterans from The Greatest Generations Foundation, all in their 90s, including DuPre.
The Women’s World Cup kicks off June 7, the day after the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings by Allied forces when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. It marked the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.