‘We’ve got a wonderful country’: WWII vet goes viral for heartwarming rendition of national anthem

An atypical singer is making a huge splash, both in Comstock, Michigan and on social media for his rendition of the national anthem.

John Pylman, 96, is a veteran of the Air Force back when it was the Army Air Corps. Enlisting in 1943, he became a navigator on a Boeing B-17 in the Eighth Air Force, serving as part of the Combined Bomber Offensive over Germany.  Later, Pylman studied education and went on to become a school principal.

Pylman had plenty of experience singing, being a former member of the Schubert Male Chorus in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This recent ballpark gig was special to him, however, telling Mlive that: “To me, it means the United States of America, worth fighting for. God’s blessed us with this wonderful country, let’s take care of it. It’s worth fighting for.”

Pylman is also no stranger to ballgame singing, having sung at eight Whitecaps home games. Apart from his time with the Schubert Male Chorus and the ballpark singing, Pylman has no professional experience singing. “I just like to sing,” he told Mlive, “and I’m pretty good at it.”

The video of his singing was posted on Facebook by the West Michigan Whitecaps, where it has been viewed more than 3 million times.  Praise was unanimous, as commenters thanked Pylman for his performance, as well as his service, saying things such as “[this was] probably the best version I have ever heard or will ever hear because it comes from his heart,” and “awesome, sung by someone who understands the true meaning of our flag.”

Pylman was touched by the reaction, saying it “made his day” to see the staggering number of views the video garnered, and telling Mlive “I can’t believe it.  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.”

“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.”

The general acclaim serves as a sort of counterpoint to what is going on at other sports venues when the time comes to sing the national anthem.

The NFL has announced that “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which has been called the unofficial “black national anthem,” will play at all games – BEFORE the national anthem.  When the national anthem is finally played, many woke athletes have made a point of kneeling, rather than standing.

This woke disrespect has provoked a backlash from more patriotic fans though, and the reaction to Pylman’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” serves as more evidence that there are still plenty of American sports fans who love their nation, its flag, and its anthem.

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