The U.S. Navy annexed about two-thirds of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques in the 1940s and kept control of that land for decades, using it for military training.
The accidental death of a Viequense civilian on the naval base in 1999 kicked off a series of protests against the U.S. military presence on the island. The protests received international attention, and many prominent people (incuding Ricky Martin, Rosie Perez, Jesse Jackson, and Rigoberta Menchu) visited the island to show their support.
One of the visitors was attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of John F. Kennedy. Robert ended up serving 30 days in prison in mid-2001 for his involvement in the protests.
On July 13, while Kennedy was incarcerated, his wife Mary gave birth to a baby boy named Aidan Caomhan Vieques Kennedy. Mary said, “I think that when he is older, the child will understand why he has the name of Vieques and how important it is and he’ll be proud to be a part of that history.”
The place name Vieques is based on the Taíno name for the island: Bieke, meaning “small land.”
The protests eventually convinced the U.S. Navy to leave Vieques in the early 2000s. Much of the former Navy-controlled land is now a national wildlife refuge.
On the morning of October 2, 2006, a gunman took ten girls (aged 6 to 13) hostage in a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding the other five, before committing suicide.
One of the victims was 7-year-old Naomi Rose Ebersol. Earlier during the incident — before the gunman had ordered the adult women and the boys to leave — Naomi had been comforted by a pregnant woman named Lydia Mae Zook:
[Lydia] reached over and patted the frightened child on the back.
“It’s going to be all right,” she assured the little girl.
On October 10, Lydia gave birth to her baby girl three weeks early. She named the baby Naomi Rose.
(The other little girls who lost their lives were named Anna, Lena, Marian, and Mary.)
When the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began in March of 2003, tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq fled from their cities and villages and took shelter in the hills.
One of these displaced Kurdish families included a boy named Awara, which means “refugee.” His older brother said Awara’s name would be changed to Azad, or “freedom,” once it was safe for the family to return to their home village.
And along with the change in regime came a change in baby naming trends. The name “Saddam” and the names of Saddam Hussein’s children (e.g., Udai, Kusai, Rajad, Halla), which had been trendy up to that point, quickly fell out of favor. An employee of Iraq’s National Registry in Baghdad said in late 2003, “We haven’t had even one Saddam since the fall of the regime on April 9th.”
Instead, Iraqi parents started opting for other namesakes. The director of the National Registry mentioned that more than 20 babies had been named for religious leader (and Hussein enemy) Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim after he was assassinated in August, for example.
I couldn’t find any follow-up articles about Awara’s family, though, so I don’t know if they ever made it back to their village, or whether Awara’s name was finally changed from “refugee” to “freedom.”
In January of 2002, University of Kansas basketball fan Scott Schlesener made a deal with his wife Jodi. If the Jayhawks ended up winning the national championship that spring, “they’d name their fifth child after sharp-shooting guard Jeff Boschee.”
Jodi, who didn’t think the Jayhawks would win, thought it was safe to make the deal — though she had the presence of mind to make sure they were talking about the baby’s middle name and not her first name.
The baby girl was born March 21. Even though the NCAA tournament wouldn’t be decided until April 1, they went ahead and named their daughter Deavynn Boschee Christine Schlesener.
And they kept the name even after the Jayhawks lost to the Maryland Terrapins in the semifinals. (The Indiana Hoosiers won the championship that year.)
Source: “Parents Name Baby After KU’s Boschee.” Fort Scott Tribune 26 Mar. 2002: 9.