WWII Veteran John Pylman national anthem at baseball game
Source: Screenshot YouTube

A powerful video is going viral of 96 year-old WWII veteran John Pylman singing the national anthem before a Minor League Baseball game in Michigan.

WWII Veteran Performs National Anthem Before Baseball Game

In the video, which has quickly gone viral, World War II veteran John Pylman performs “The Star Spangled Banner” as the crowd looks on.

Afterwards, he saluted the ballpark as the announcer said humbly, “Thank you John, and thank you for your service.”

The game was between the Dayton Dragons and the West Michigan Whitecaps. The August 5th video of Pylman’s performance shared by the Whitecaps has nearly 200k reactions and 65k shares. 

Viewer comments are overwhelmingly positive.  

“I salute you sir.”

“Gave me chills! Thank you John for the song and for serving!”

“God bless America!”

Pylman later told MLive that he didn’t perform the song for the spectacle of it, or to get attention for himself. Instead, he did so to show off his respect for the United States. 

What a beautiful statement.

“To me, it means the United States of America, worth fighting for,” the 96-year-old explained. “God’s blessed us with this wonderful country, let’s take care of it. It’s worth fighting for.”

Pylman went on to say that it “made his day” to learn that millions of people had viewed the video online. 

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “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.”

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WWII Veteran John Pylman’s Life And Career

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Pylman signed up for the Air Force in 1943, a year after he graduated from high school.

During the war, he served as a navigator on a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress plane as part of the Eighth Air Force in England. 

Once the war ended, Pylman attended Calvin College, now Calvin University. He then worked as the first principal at Rogers High School in Wyoming, where he served from 1957-1980.

Pylman has actually performed the national anthem at eight previous games at LMCU Ballpark. He auditioned to perform the anthem a few years ago after seeing someone else do it and thinking to himself, “Hey, I could do that.”

“I just like to sing,” he added. “And I’m pretty good at it.”

While Pylman has never sang professionally, he has performed with the Schubert Male Chorus in Grand Rapids. 

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John Pylman Loves Honoring His Country

In the end, Pylman said that he performs the anthem to show off his love for this country, and for those who have given their lives for America. 

“I had some dear friends who didn’t survive World War II – five of them in my ninth grade class,” he said. “We’ve got a wonderful country. It’s worth fighting for.”

God bless you, John Pylman, and thank you for your service to our country! 

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