Category: hero names
Today’s Question of the Week is about naming a baby after an older relative or friend or hero.
Did you name your baby after someone in your family — grandparent, great-grandparent, long-ago ancestor, or maybe even yourself?
Or would you choose an honorific as a name for your yet-unborn baby, and if so, which one and why?
Middle names are, in many ways, the place where you can get most adventurous with your choices.
Or are they?
What, in your opinion, is the best kind of middle name to choose?
A creative name that you might love but that you wouldn’t dare put in first place?
A name with important symbolism — the city where your child was conceived, the name of a personal hero?
Or maybe you see the middle name as the ideal place to represent family: to use the baby’s father’s first name, for instance, or pass down grandma’s maiden name or honor a family member who is recently deceased.
Or the middle name to you might be an opportunity to create flow and melody in a name, and so you look for a middle name with the perfect combination of syllables and sounds.
Then again, your hero or heroine may be from your own family and circle of friends and acquaintances: a favorite teacher, an acquaintance you’ve always admired.
Celebrities have recently been incorporating hero names into their choices for their children: Mariah Carey‘s daughter is named Monroe after Marilyn, for instance, while Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach named their son Rohmer, for French director Eric. Several politicians in recent years have named their children Kennedy, for example, a conscious choice to identify with that powerful political family and legacy.
Exactly forty-three years ago, on July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 spaceflight landed the first humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the moon, with Armstrong being the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later, famously describing the event as “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This effectively ended the space race with Russia and fulfilled a goal set by John F. Kennedy in 1961.
Apollo— The Apollo program was named after the Greek god of light, music and the sun by NASA manager Abe Silverstein, who said he chose it “like I’d name my baby,” after perusing a mythology book and seeing an image of Apollo riding his chariot across the sun.
Though its current associations might run more to barbecues, picnics and parades, Memorial Day conjures up a load of historic references dating back to its post-Civil War origins, as well as some more contemporary traditions.
There are several blogs-worth of noteworthy Civil War generals’ names alone—Alpheus, Americus, Cassius, Gustavus, Lafayette, Napoleon, Pleasant, Romeyn, for starters– but for now we’ve included just a few of the most intriguing, as well as some less obvious Memorial Day names associated with the holiday.
BLUE and GREY—The colors of the uniforms of the Union and Confederate soldiers fighting the Civil War (the Confederate soldiers sometimes referred to the Yankees disparagingly as ‘bluebellies’), Blue and Gray are the current coolest of the unisex color names. Blue Ivy is the much-discussed name picked by Beyoncé and Jay-Z for their daughter; actress Jenna von Oy recently named her daughter Gray.
CATHAY—Cathay Williams—aka William Cathay—was one of many women who passed as men to serve as Civil War soldiers. A former slave, she was the first African-American woman to enlist. Cathay is an evocative old term for China used by Marco Polo that could make an interesting choice—if it weren’t in danger of being constantly confused with Cathy.