Spectators at a Minor League Baseball game in Michigan were nearly brought to tears when watching 96-year-old WWII veteran John Pylman deliver the National Anthem.
The heartwarming moment occurred earlier in the month and started going viral this week. In the video, which has been viewed over 3.3 million times, Pylman handily performs “The Star-Spangled Banner,” masking his frail voice behind a conviction of passion, gratitude, and pride. As he concludes the song, Pylman salutes the entire ballpark as the announcer humbly says, “Thank you John, and thank you for your service.”
Take a look:
Speaking with MLive, Pylman said he only wanted his singing to be a sign of respect for the United States, not a show of spectacle.
“To me, it means the United States of America, worth fighting for,” he said. “God’s blessed us with this wonderful country, let’s take care of it. It’s worth fighting for.”
After learning his performance won the internet, Pylman said it “made his day.”
“I can’t believe it,” he told MLive. “That’s my attitude right now – I just can’t believe it. I was amazed at the crowd’s reaction, and I thought, okay, this is a good thing to have done.”
Pylman enlisted in the Air Force just after graduating high school in 1943. He served as a navigator on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress plane as part of the Eighth Air Force in England, according to MLive.
“We’ve got a wonderful country. It’s worth fighting for,” exclaimed Pylman.