Opinion: World Cup puts U.S. women, families in touch with history, our Greatest Generation

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SportsPulse: We’ve all seen the iconic image of Brandi Chastain winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup. But as teammate and legendary goalkeeper Briana Scurry explains, that moment almost didn’t happen.
USA TODAY

OMAHA BEACH, France — Every time they put on their uniforms or a piece of team apparel, the U.S. women are reminded that they are the best in the country at what they do.

Close to where they will play their next World Cup match, however, is a reminder of the best this country has ever had.

While the U.S. players spent Tuesday preparing for their final group-stage game, many of their families toured Omaha Beach and the American cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer with Steve Melnikoff, a 99-year-old veteran. Melnikoff had met about a dozen of the players in January, when they were here for an exhibition game against France, and plans to go to Thursday night’s game against Sweden.

“I get emotional once in a while,” said Melnikoff, who was wounded twice in the 11-plus months he spent in Europe — the first time 75 years ago Monday. “I come back because I have to. You can’t forget what these guys did.”

Melnikoff served in the 175th Regiment of the 29th Infantry…

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