Korean Baby Named After Fiorello LaGuardia

Fiorello LaGuardia, who served as mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945, didn’t just give his name to an airport.

In 1946, LaGuardia was the director of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), which assisted millions of refugees during the 1940s.

In May of that year, the first baby born at the displaced persons camp in Seoul, Korea, was named Mi Hwa in honor of Fiorello. Hwa is the Korean word for “flower,” just as Fiorello is based on the Italian word for “flower,” fiore.

(Both of my sources claimed that Mi Hwa means “little flower,” probably because Fiorello means “little flower” [flower + diminutive ending]. I’ve only ever seen Mi Hwa translated as “beautiful flower,” though.)

Sources:

  • RELIEF: Trouble for Mi Hua.” TIME 27 May 1946.
  • “First Seoul Refugee Baby Named for ‘Little Flower.'” New York Times 18 May 1946: 4.

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