Houston Skipping The 2017 Draft Is The Most Moreyball Thing Ever

Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets did the most Moreyball thing ever on Thursday. They skipped the NBA Draft.

Houston went full Moreyball. They entered the NBA Draft with two picks and exited with no new salary cap commitments while retaining and gathering assets for the future.

By drafting a 19-year-old German who isn’t NBA ready and trading Dillon Brooks to the Grizzlies Houston hit the snooze button on the NBA Draft in favor of free agent pursuits and potential trades.

It was the right call.

With cap holds Houston sits just $2 million below the salary cap. This number was going to be four million before the Warriors bowled through every opponent while delivering a grim preview of the NBA’s potential next three seasons.

Taking on even an extra million dollars a season by signing a second round pick would have cinched a belt loop one slot tighter. And while Morey signed an undrafted player, as he’s deftly done for many years, he avoided the financial weight of another second round pick and turned it into a future second rounder.

Houston is far from clearing the space necessary to land one of their rumored free agent targets, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap and Kyle Lowry, but Dillon Brooks isn’t going to put them any closer. The Oregon alumnus also wasn’t going to swing a trade to unload Ryan Anderson’s near $20 million a year. Brooks’ contract would have only put them an inch further away.

So to avoid even the slightest setback to their flexibility Houston stashed an international player overseas, acquired a future pick for the one they didn’t want and they skipped the NBA Draft.

It was the most Daryl Morey move the Rockets could make.

What to watch for at the Travelers Championship

We get a surprisingly star-studded field this week at the Travelers Championship in the week after Brooks Koepka took the U.S. Open. Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth will all play at TPC River Highlands, which makes for a hell of a field anywhere, even more so the week after a major championship.

 

1. Another 58 watch? The last time we saw this course, it was being desecrated by Jim Furyk, who shot a stunning 58 in his final round at the 2016 Travelers Championship. It would be shocking if we saw that again, but you at least know that number is out there. With McIlroy and Day coming in off a missed cut at the U.S. Open, it might at least be threatened.

2. Rory’s rebound: Speaking of McIlroy, I’m probably most curious about what he does this week. His U.S. Open missed cut was probably the least disconcerting of all the stars who missed simply because he hasn’t played almost at all since the Masters. He seemed encouraged by ending his Friday with birdies in four of his final six holes.

3. First-time winner: Of the past 11 winners of this tournament, six have won their first PGA Tour event here. A lot of that is because stars and superstars mostly don’t play the week after a major so that could flip this week, but it’s at least worth keeping an eye on when it comes to golfers like Jamie Lovemark, Kevin Tway and Trey Mullinax.

Past winners

  • 2016: Russell Knox
  • 2015: Bubba Watson
  • 2014: Kevin Streelman
  • 2013: Ken Duke
  • 2012: Marc Leishman

    That’s a pretty eclectic group of golfers. Leishman and Watson are big hitters, but the other three really aren’t. I think we’re going to get a more accomplished champ this time around than in the recent past.

Travelers Championship picks

Winner: Graham DeLaet has finished in the top five at this tournament in two of the past four years. He missed out on the U.S. Open (which might play to his advantage), but he has two top 10s in his past six events including the last one he played at the Memorial. Odds: 50-1

Top 10: Jordan Spieth has never played this tournament before, but he’s the No. 1 ball-striker on the PGA Tour, and he just grinded out a T35 at Erin Hills when he could have easily missed the weekend. I’ll ride here with the best-performing top player in the field. Odds: 9-1

Sleeper: Jamie Lovemark has three straight top 30s and played in one of the final pairings on Saturday at the U.S. Open. He’s a ball-striking extravaganza waiting to unfold and is still looking for win No. 1. Lovemark has three top 10s on the season and has been flying under the radar for the last few years. Odds: 66-1

The NBA draft is where dreams temporarily come true

The NBA draft is a magical device. In the months leading up to and over its four-hour course, anything seems possible. Even the most skeptical curmudgeons talk themselves into this 19-year-old or that Latvian. In these hours, the players all believe they will be the next LeBron, or the next Nowitzki, or the next Draymond. The NBA draft is a festival of faith for everyone involved: the teams, the prospects, the fans.

It’s all downhill from there.

As soon as we see these players in the anti-glamour of Vegas Summer League (or even worse, Orlando Summer League) their faults come alive. It gets worse in the preseason and through the rookie year. It’s a fact that most rookies are bad, even the great ones. We remember LeBron being good as a rookie. The fact is he wasn’t good enough to beat out Michael Redd or Kenyon Martin for an All-Star spot that year! Dirk barely shot 40 percent as a rookie; Draymond averaged fewer than three points per game.

Even if they do quickly become good, the panic begins to set in for their teams about their futures! On draft night, draft picks are these ethereal, mystical objects whose future is in some way impossible to tell, so we all expect the best. When reality sets in, we start to fear the worst.

In that spirit, enjoy the 2017 NBA draft (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET) before it’s too late.

The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year

The summer solstice is upon us: June 20th and the 21st will be the longest days of 2017 for anyone living north of the equator. If pagan rituals are your thing, this is probably a big moment for you. If not, the solstice is still pretty neat.

Technically speaking, the summer solstice occurs when the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer, or 23.5° north latitude. In 2017, this will occur at exactly 12:24 am (Eastern) on the 21st. (But we can celebrate on either day.)

Below is a short scientific guide to the longest day of the year (though not, as we’ll see, the longest day in Earth’s history — that happened back in 1912).

1) Why do we have a summer solstice, anyway?

Okay, most people know this one. Earth orbits around the sun on a tilted axis (probably because our planet collided with some other massive object billions of years ago, back when it was still being formed).

So between March and September, Earth’s Northern Hemisphere gets more exposure to direct sunlight over the course of a day. The rest of the year, the Southern Hemisphere gets more. It’s the reason for the seasons:

In the Northern Hemisphere, “peak” sunlight usually occurs on June 20, 21, or 22 of any given year. That’s the summer solstice. By contrast, the Southern Hemisphere reaches peak sunlight on December 21, 22, or 23 and the north hits peak darkness — that’s our winter solstice.

2) How many hours of sunlight will I get on Tuesday?

That depends on where you live. The further north you are, the more sunlight you’ll see during the solstice. Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider created this terrific guide:

Here’s another cool way to visualize the extreme of the summer solstice. In 2013, a resident of Alberta, Canada — several hundred miles south of Fairbanks, but still in a high latitude — took this pinhole camera photograph of the sun’s path throughout the year, and shared it with the astronomy website EarthSky. You can see the dramatic change in the arc of the sun from December to June. (You can easily make a similar image at home. All you need is a can, photo paper, some tape, and a pin. Instructions here.)

Note that the solstice also gives us the longest twilight of the year, usually about 1 to 1.5 extra hours after sunset.

This year, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the solstice. (Ramadan’s dates vary each year, but in 2017 it runs from May 26 to June 24.) Which makes for a grueling challenge in some places: Muslims are supposed to fast until sunset during Ramadan, but for those living in Norway, Sweden, or Iceland, daylight can last up to 20 hours.

3) Is the solstice the latest sunset of the year?

Not necessarily. Just because June 20 is the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere doesn’t mean every location has its earliest sunrise or latest sunset on that day.

If you live in Washington, DC, you missed the earliest sunrise — it happened back on June 13. But you can still catch the latest sunset on June 27. If you like sleeping in, that’s arguably the most exciting day of the summer.

4) What does all this have to do with Stonehenge?

No one really knows why Stonehenge was built some 5,000 years ago (at least I don’t, sorry). But one possibility is that it was used to mark solstices and equinoxes. That’s because during the summer solstice, the sun rises just over the structure’s Heel Stone and hits the Altar Stone dead center.

Here’s a graphic from NASA imagining what a summer solstice sunrise might’ve looked like back when Stonehenge was fully intact:

Nowadays, humans still gather to pay homage the summer solstice at Stonehenge — they just use modern technology, like so:

The Wikipedia entry on Stonehenge is absurdly detailed, so read up on that if you want more.

5) Is this the longest day in Earth’s entire history?

Ever since the Earth has had liquid oceans and a moon, its rotation has been gradually slowing over time due to tidal friction. That means — over very, very long periods of time — the days have been getting steadily longer. About 4.5 billion years ago, it took the Earth just six hours to complete one rotation. About 350 million years ago, it took 23 hours. Today, of course, it takes about 24 hours. And the days will gradually get longer still.

Given that, you’d think 2017 would be the longest day in all of history. But while it’s certainly up there, it doesn’t quite take top honors.

That’s because tidal friction isn’t the only thing affecting Earth’s rotation — there are a few countervailing factors. The melting of glacial ice, which has been occurring since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago (and is now ramping up because of global warming), is actually speeding up Earth’s rotation very slightly, shortening the days by a few fractions of a millisecond. Likewise, geologic activity in the planet’s core, earthquakes, ocean currents, and seasonal wind changes can also speed up or slow down Earth’s rotation.

When you put all these factors together, scientists have estimated that the longest day in Earth’s history (so far) likely occurred back in 1912. That year’s summer solstice was the longest period of daylight the Northern Hemisphere has ever seen (and, conversely, the 1912 winter solstice was the longest night we’ve ever seen).

Eventually, the effects of tidal friction should overcome all those other factors, and Earth’s days will get longer and longer as its rotation keeps slowing (forcing timekeepers to add leap seconds to the calendar periodically). Which means that in the future, there will be plenty of summer solstices that set new records as the “longest day in Earth’s history.”

6) Isn’t there going to be a solar eclipse?

No, not on the solstice.

But there will be a rare solar eclipse across the entire continental US a bit later in the summer, on August 21.

On that day, the Earth, moon, and sun will be in perfect alignment to cast a 60-mile-wide shadow that will trace itself across the country like a dark laser pointer on a whiteboard.

In the bull’s eye center of the moon’s shadow known as the totality, the sky will go dark for a few minutes in the middle of the day, stars will appear, and birds will become confused and start chirping their nighttime songs. And it’s all because of a cosmic coincidence: From the Earth, both the moon and sun appear to be roughly the same size.

7) I clicked this article accidentally and really just want a cool picture of the sun

The image above was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft launched in 2010 to better understand the sun.

In 2018, NASA will launch the Parker Probe Plus, a spacecraft that will come within 4 million miles of the surface of the sun (much closer than any spacecraft has been before). The goal is to study the sun’s atmosphere, weather, and magnetism, and figure out the mystery of why the sun’s corona (i.e., its atmosphere) is much hotter than its surface. Still, even several million miles away, the probe will have to withstand temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s essential to understand the sun.

Happy solstice!

U.S. Open 2017: Brooks Koepka muscles his way into history

To see Brooks Koepka on the 18th tee, with the village’s Holy Hill basilica tall in the distant background, was to imagine, if only for a second, a vision of the young Arnold Palmer, a strongman with blacksmith arms hanging from a running back’s shoulders. Yes, a guy could look at Koepka and see Palmer. Ah, a sweet thought. And enough of that. For this day belongs to Koepka, the latest U.S. Open champion, young and strong, yes, but, more telling, a rising star in a constellation of stars putting a new shine on the oldest game.

If casual golf fans knew only a little about Koepka – he had won once on the PGA Tour, he had played on America’s winning Ryder Cup team last year – he changed that today with nerveless work in the heat of an Open Sunday. In the day’s last hour, when even the smallest bobble under increasing pressure has thrown many a train off the tracks, Koepka was sensational. Out of a bunker at the 14th, a taking-dead-aim second at the 15th, and another straight over the flagstick at the 16th – three birdies in loud exclamation of his arrival among golf’s elite.

Koepka is the seventh straight first-time winner of a major championship. He extends a run of new faces that began with Jason Day and moved to Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker, and Sergio Garcia – none of whom made the cut here this week, though one had a touch of friendly influence on Koepka. He and Dustin Johnson are gym-rat buddies, both once multi-sport athletes (Koepka a baseball pitcher) who, among other shared traits, make quick work of philosophical discussions, as in a phone call before today’s round.

“It was a long phone call for us,” Koepka said, smiling. “Like two minutes.”

Johnson’s advice?

“Keep doing what you’re doing.”

And?

“Stay patient. Hang in there, it’ll happen. You’re gonna win the thing.”

Win the thing, Koepka did — mostly because he played at a level he had long expected of himself. “I was striking it really well,” he said. Look at the numbers: 49 of 56 fairways, 61 greens in regulation, 323.5 yards on the measured driving holes. (The 18th wasn’t one of them.) All that from a guy only 27 years old, only in his fourth year out there, and yet he believed he had under-achieved because he’d won only once on the PGA Tour, once on the European Tour, and had done well in majors without winning.

“I felt like I put myself in contention so many times,” he said. “And I don’t want to say I got unlucky. I felt like I just never fully came together. I put myself in some good positions in the majors over the last few years and never really quite came through. … But I just felt like I should be winning more. I don’t know why. It’s one of those things. I’m not a big fan of losing. And I just couldn’t stand the fact I‘d only won once.”

Whether this Open was worthy of the name – Erin Hills presented few of the penal features admired by the masochists who like Opens to be punishments for our sins past, present and future – it created a week of memorable competition. Even better, it served as full introduction of players who may be changing the nature of the game. Thinking here of Koepka and Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Brian Harman, Hideki Matsuyama and Tommy Fleetwood.

Listen, if you will, to Steve Stricker, a veteran, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, 50 years old and yet still good enough to finish T-16 here this week.

“This is the new age of golf,” he said. “These guys play a different game. A 3-wood 300 yards yesterday for Justin Thomas. I don’t hit my driver 300 yards. These guys have a lot of firepower. They bomb it. If they hit it crooked, they’ll bomb it again. They’ve got no fear and they’re gutsy players, and they’re little bulldogs, and they’re just relentless.

“So it’s something I just sit back and marvel at, really. These guys just take on everything, no fear, and they play very aggressively. It’s fun to watch. Sometimes it gets them in trouble, and sometimes they make eagles. It’s feast-or-famine at times, but it’s sure fun to watch.”

Wait. Sorry. This reminds me of Arnold again.

There stood Koepka on the 18th tee. Here’s what he did next. He did a Palmer thing.

He closed the show spectacularly. He hit a tee shot – with a 3-wood – that seemed destined to bounce off a Holy Hill spire three miles away. The shot actually went 379.3 yards. Repeat: a 3-wood. Repeat: 379.3 yards. That left him 273.7 yards to the front. He began the day a shot behind the leader, Brian Harman. Coming up the 18th fairway, he had built a four-shot lead. He could have used a pool cue the rest of the way. He came home with a fourth-straight under-par round, a 67 following 67, 70, and 68. His 272 total was 16 under par, matching the Open to-par scoring record set by Rory McIlroy in 2011.

So Brooks Koepka won his first major at age 27.

Arnold Palmer won his first at 28.

Goodbye Wisconsin!

After marveling at Rickie Fowler’s 65 and all those other low scores on Thursday at the 2017 U.S. Open, what happened on Friday? We saw TWO 65’s. But it wasn’t easy for everyone at Erin Hills, and to wrap up all the action, here’s our latest edition of birdies and bogeys:

Birdie — World No. 4: After watching Rickie Fowler’s first-round 65 up close, Matsuyama matched his playing partner on Friday, redirecting all that “best player without a major” talk back in the Japanese star’s direction. The only negative for Hideki was he missed a 10-footer on the final hole that would have put him eight under and tied the U.S. Open single-round scoring record in relation to par, matching a certain 63 by a certain NBC broadcaster at Oakmont in 1973.

Bogey — World Nos. 1-3: For the first time since the Official World Golf Ranking was created in 1986, the top three players in it will all miss the cut in the same major. Yep, Dustin Johnson (+4), Rory McIlroy (+5) and Jason Day (+10!) are all heading home for the weekend. Or maybe they’re sticking around for a local cheese festival. Regardless, they’re not playing Erin Hills.

Birdie — Brooks Koepka: Remember when people used to say Tiger Woods was built like a linebacker? Well, Brooks Koepka is actually built like a linebacker. And in Green Bay Packers land, the burly Brooks has put himself in position to win his first major this weekend. After shooting a 70 on Friday, Koepka shares the lead with Brian Harman and a pair of Brits, Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood.

Bogey — Rickie Fowler: Yes, conditions were tougher Friday afternoon, but Fowler also had a front-row seat for Hideki Matsuyama’s near-historic performance. Even with a one-over-par 73, he remains in great shape to win a first major, and his strong start also gave us one of the funnier moments of the day when actor Andy Buckley (David Wallace from “The Office”) took credit for Fowler’s great driving:

He’s even wearing a Dunder Miflin shirt despite that show going off the air more than four years ago! Talk about staying in character.

Birdie — Chez Reavie: Chez Reavie shot 65 at the U.S. Open. We don’t know much else to say because, based on how many times Chez was shown on TV, Fox seemed as surprised as anyone this happened.

Bogey — Jon Rahm: The young Spaniard was one of many big names sent packing early, but he threw the biggest temper tantrum.

Did anyone pick up that wedge?

Birdie — Cameron Champ: Where has this guy been hiding all my life? He’s awesome. Oh, he turned 22 on Thursday and he’s still in college? That explains it. But the rising senior at Texas A&M has a spectacular name, absolutely crushes the ball (he leads the field with a 339-yard driving distance average) and is five under through two rounds. Oh yeah, he also said this after his round: “I’m kinda long.” Um, yeah.

Bogey — Danny Willett: A month after withdrawing with a back injury during his second round at the Players, Willett did the same ahead of his second round at Erin Hills. This, following a first-round 81 for the man who has struggled mightily since winning the 2016 Masters. At least, he’s on point with his emoji game:

Blimp flying over the US Open crashes and bursts into flames half a mile from the course

A pilot has suffered serious burns after the advertising blimp he was flying burst into flames and crashed over the US Open golf tournament on Thursday.

The man was the only person aboard when the blimp crashed shortly before midday at the Erin Hills golf course in Wisconsin. The blimp went down in an open field about half a mile from the course.

The pilot survived the crash but suffered serious burns, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.  Flames and smoke were spotted spewing from the blimp shortly before it crashed and erupted into a fireball.

Some witnesses say plumes of smoke were visible rising among the trees from a distance. Another said the side of the blimp started deflating and caught fire as it headed toward the ground. Stunned onlookers captured the ordeal on video and claimed to have seen someone parachute from the blimp shortly before it crashed.

But a spokesman for AirSign, the Florida-based operator of the aircraft, said the pilot was still on the blimp as it plummeted, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

‘He stayed with the blimp until it went down,’ the spokesman said, adding that a first responder pulled the pilot from the wreck.

Emergency services treated the pilot on the ground before he was airlifted to hospital by Flight For Life.

The aircraft, which was operated by the advertising company AirSign, was not affiliated with the US Open.

A US Open statement read: ‘A blimp unaffiliated with the US Open or Fox Sports has crashed near Erin Hills. Pilot was injured and first responders are on the scene.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured.’

The blimp was hovering above the course shooting pictures of the second major of the golfing calendar when the incident unfolded.

The sheriff’s office asked the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board to help investigate the cause.

 

 

 

 

The golfer who didn’t win the US Open because he waited for his ball to drop

The final round of the 1985 US Open was anything but dull. Nerves frayed as each of the main protagonists took it in turns to seemingly blow their chance of glory. As Denis Watson sat in the clubhouse, wondering if his even-par total would be enough to earn him his first major, his mind must surely have also drifted back to the eighth hole of his first round on the Thursday.

Watson had a 10-foot putt on the eighth for a par four on the eighth but he left it agonizingly short. He walked up to the hole to tap in for a bogey but, as he arrived at his ball, Watson paused. It would turn out to be a crucial moment of the 1985 US Open. “I walked up to see how close it was and said, ‘I think it’s still moving,’ and backed off,” he later reflected. “It didn’t fall, so I stepped up to knock it in – then it fell in the hole.” Unfortunately for Watson, he would pay for his pause. The ball dropped into the hole but Watson had left it teetering on the edge of the cup for longer than the 10 seconds allowed by USGA rules, so he was given a two-stroke penalty.

“The rule is a little cranky,” said Watson. “An official came up and told me I’d taken too long – that I’d stood there 35 seconds when the rule is 10 seconds – whether the ball is still moving or not. That’s the rule, so I was wrong, but I think the way it was handled was disappointing. I was quite upset at the time and bogeyed the next two holes.” On a day where only seven men broke 70, Watson’s penalty looked costly. His two-over-par 72 meant he wasn’t out of contention but Watson needed to put the disappointment behind him and react well on the Friday.

And what a reaction he produced. Watson equalled the course record 65 – which had been set by TC Chen the day before – to move into fifth place, as players such as Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer, Lee Trevino, Craig Stadler and Ben Crenshaw missed the cut. Watson had made just 23 putts in his second round but the press only wanted to talk about one from the day before.

“Once the round was over and the penalty was official, I forgot it,” said Watson. “Golf is a very tormenting game. If you dwell on things like that, you lose sight of your reason for playing, which is to play the game one shot at a time against the golf course.” Watson had moved on and now sat just three shots behind surprise leader Chen with two rounds done and two to play.

Watson carded a 73 on Saturday and a 70 on Sunday to leave him on even par after 72 holes. Seve Ballesteros, Tom Kite, Payne Stewart and Lanny Wadkins all tried to beat his score but they all failed. With each new arrival in the clubhouse, Watson looked more well placed to win his first major championship – especially when you consider the trials his three main contenders were suffering on the course.

Everything had been going so well for Chen. The first ever albatross in a US Open had helped him shoot a 65 in the opening round and his totals of 134 after two rounds and 203 after three rounds equalled the lowest 36- and 54-hole scores in the tournament’s history. He was leading by four shots when he stepped up to play the fifth hole on Sunday and was looking good to become the first wire-to-wire champion since Tony Jacklin in 1970. But then the wheels came off.

Chipping on to the fifth green, Chen followed through on his shot and struck the ball when it was in mid-air, the double-hit costing him another stroke on the way to a disastrous quadruple-bogey eight. “When I arrived today, I didn’t feel what you call ‘the Open pressure’,” he said. “I was confident until the fifth hole. After that, all my confidence was gone.” Chen bogeyed the next three holes. He recovered slightly, and tied Watson’s total, but his 77 was not good enough to win the title and left him with the nickname “Two Chip” Chen.

Canadian Dave Barr also spurned his opportunity. Leading with six holes remaining, he bogeyed three holes – including the 17th and 18th – to end up on level par alongside Watson and Chen. All three had come so close in their different ways, but it was left to Andy North to somehow crawl below the finishing tape. The only man under par for the tournament, North bogeyed the final hole to sneak home by a shot, winning his second major with just eight birdies all week.

North’s triumph was not universally popular. “The winner didn’t win it, he inherited it,” wrote Jim Murray in the LA Times. “Andrew Stewart North just thinks he won the 1985 National Open. You don’t have to be an accountant to figure out that Denis Watson lost this tournament to a pencil.”

Shav Glick, writing in the same paper, also argued the case for Watson. “Can a player take only 278 strokes during 72 holes of the US Open and lose to a player who takes 279 strokes? Yes, if the golfer is Denis Watson.” The USGA later reduced the punishment for breaking the “10-second rule” to one shot, but it was too little too late for the Zimbabwean.

Sadly, things were about to get much worse for Watson. Playing in the Goodyear Classic in South Africa, he struck a hidden tree stump with great force, leading to a serious whiplash injury. The damage to his neck, wrist and elbow was so severe that a doctor told Watson that he would never play competitively again. Watson defied that prediction and returned to the top level but his professional career was never the same again. “That one swing changed my life,” Watson later admitted.

To his great credit, Watson went on to enjoy great success on the Seniors Tour, even winning the 2007 PGA Championship and becoming a major champion 22 years after his cruel fate at Oakland Hills. Golf is a game of ifs and putts, and we will never know what would have happened if Watson had struck that putt a touch softer or harder. But the whole of 1985 remains a what-if for Watson, from that putt to that tree stump.

Flag Day: What is it and why do we celebrate it?

Why is Flag Day celebrated? 

Flag Day honors a June 14, 1777, resolution from the Second Continental Congress, which called for an official United States flag.

The resolution called for the flag to “be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

What is the history behind Flag Day? 

A number of figures in the 1800s led the charge to recognize the importance of the flag.

Hartford, Conn., resident George Morris in 1861 got his town “to undertake a patriotic celebration on behalf of the Union,”

Flag Day was unofficially observed 16 years later on June 14, 1877, the Department of Defense said in a blog post. The flag waved nationwide from public buildings for the occasion, a report from 2011 said.

One of the more famous figures was Wisconsin teacher Bernard Cigrand. In 1885, he put a flag in an inkwell and tasked his students to write essays about the flag, the National Flag Day Foundation says online. Cigrand would spend decades championing the flag, and even became the editor-in-chief of the “American Standard,” a magazine devoted to American emblems, according to the foundation.

William Kerr established the American Flag Day Foundation of Western Pennsylvania in 1888. Kerr reportedly met nine presidents and contacted many politicians over the 67 years he spent seeking an official day for the flag.

“He was a strong personality, a force of will,” his grandson Thomas Kerr told the paper at the time. “He had no secretary. He did it all himself.”

There were also other efforts. In 1889, George Bolch, a New York City principal, made his school have events in observance, and in 1893, Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania’s Elizabeth Duane Gillespie fought for Philadelphia’s public buildings to have flags.

10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE AMERICAN FLAG

When was a proclamation for Flag Day issued? 

May 30, 1916. “I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as Flag Day with special patriotic exercises,” President Woodrow Wilson wrote. Wilson had been stirred by a conversation with Kerr.

President Harry Truman later signed Flag Day’s permanent observance into law in 1949.

Is Flag Day a federal holiday? 

No. However, Flag Day is a state holiday in New York and Pennsylvania.

What are some Flag Day traditions? 

Some places in the United States hold Flag Day parades. Presidents have also issued proclamations for National Flag Week. Former President Obama’s 2016 proclamation called on both federal government buildings and all Americans to display the flag.