In the USA, Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day. In honor of the holiday, we decided to take a look back at some heroes who served this country and their incredible stories of bravery and selflessness.
Usually, the holiday is marked by parades and other celebrations to honor the sacrifice that service members make. This year, as with all things 2020, the holiday will probably look a little different, but we hope that veterans still feel appreciated on this holiday. Because we can’t attend a parade, we’d like to wave a virtual flag for our veterans and let them know that we thank them for their courage. We’ve collected some truly wonderful baby names from remarkable people that would be an excellent way to show your patriotism. Here are 25 baby names for girls inspired by brave Americans that sound distinguished and genuinely strong.
Sarah Emma Edmonds was one of the very few great women veterans from the Civil War, a time when women were not allowed to serve in the military. In 1861, Sarah disguised herself as a man and joined the United States Army so that she could do her duty to her country. In the Army Edmonds went by the name Frank Thompson and she was in the Second Volunteers of the United States Army as a male nurse and also a Union spy. Sarah is a name found in Hebrew, Arabic, and many other languages. It means “princess” or “joy.”
One of the most recent women veterans to achieve greatness is 4-star Army general Ann E. Dunwoody, the very first woman to serve in this capacity. Dunwoody signed up in the Army in 1974, and she was originally assigned to the 226th Maintenance Company. She later revolutionized the Army Material Command as the commander. Ann has Latin and Hebrew origins and means “grace.”
WWII veteran Elsie S. Ott was the first woman to receive the U.S. Air Medal. Ott was a contributing factor in the elevation of military medical care and one of the famous women veterans that Americans should know. Elsie is an adorable name with Hebrew origins which means “God is abundance.”
In 1865, Cathay Williams was the first documented African American female to serve. She served as a Buffalo Soldier during her military career. Of course, at the time women were not allowed to serve so, Cathay created an alias by flipping the order of her name to William Cathay and purported to be a man. She ousted after three years after she revealed that she was actually a woman. Cathay is an Anglicized version of Italian Catai which refers to a place.
In 1999, Air Force Colonel Eileen Collins became the first female space shuttle commander and one of the famous veterans who have made incredible contributions to America. In 1979, Collins joined the Air Force and she was assigned to be a T-38 flight instructor until the year 1982. After completing Air Force Test Pilot School, Collins was chosen by NASA for the astronaut program. The name Eileen has Gaelic origins and means “bright, shining one.”
Deborah Sampson was one of the first female American veterans, serving disguised as a man during the Revolutionary War because women were not allowed to enlist. Samson’s service started in 1778 and she used the alias Robert Shirtliffe. She was discharged after contracting an illness and George Washington gave her money to cover the trip back home. The name Deborah is Hebrew and means “bee.”
Best known for her roles on the popular television shows Maude and The Golden Girls, the late Bea Arthur was also once a truck driver in the Marine Corps. She was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and, aside from driving military trucks, Arthur was also a typist. Arthur was stationed at Marine Corps and Navy air stations in Virginia and North Carolina during her career and advanced from corporal to sergeant to staff sergeant. The name Bea is a form of the Latin Beatrice which means “blessed.”
Known as “Amazing Grace,” Commodore Grace Murray Hopper‘s contributions to naval history are abundantly clear. A destroyer was named after her (USS Hopper, DDG-70), as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer. As founder of the COBOL programming language, a precursor to many of the software code methods of today, her work is legendary among computer scientists and mathematicians. Her rank was elevated to rear admiral in November 1985, making her one of few women admirals in the history of the United States Navy. The name Grace is an English virtue name that means exactly what you think it does.
One of the most celebrated heroines in American history, Harriet Tubman is best known for helping slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad in the 1850s. Not everyone knows that Tubman, who fled slavery in 1849, set up a vast espionage ring for the Union during the Civil War. She served as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy for the Union during the Civil War, and also was the first woman in American history to lead a military expedition. Despite all of her many accomplishments she was only paid $200 for her years of service and was not offered a pension, as was customary for spies. Harriet is a German name that means “estate ruler.”
In 1861, 29-year-old Dr. Mary Walker applied to become a surgeon with the Union Army, as she had been one of the few female physicians in the country prior to the start of the Civil War. She was rejected but remained on as a volunteer, leveraging her skills to treat the wounded. Two years later, Walker finally received an appointment to serve an assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army, after spending additional time as a field surgeon in Virginia. She was captured and held as a prisoner of war by Confederate forces. She was later awarded the Medal of Honor in 1865. Walker remains the only woman to have received the Medal of Honor in U.S. history. The name Mary has Hebrew origins and means “bitter.”
Mary Agnes Hallaren was an American soldier and the third director of the Women’s Army Corps at the time that it became a part of the United States Army. As the director of the WAC, she was the first woman to officially join the U.S. Army. “To me there was no question that women should serve,” Hallaren said, as reported by the New York Times. She was awarded the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit. We look to her middle name, Agnes for inspiration. Agnes is a Greek name that means “pure.”
Marcella Hayes Ng, who began her military career as an ROTC cadet at the University of Wisconsin, became the first black female pilot in the U.S. military in 1979. Hayes became the 55th woman to earn her pilot wings, before being assigned to the 394th Transportation Battalion in Germany, the unit’s first black soldier and first woman leader. The name Marcella has Latin origins and means “warlike.”
Capt. Linda Bray was one of over 700 women to join in Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989, as she led the 988th Military Police Company, according to the Army. There, she became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle, a trailblazing role that sparked a reflection about women in the military. “I joined the Army for the excitement, the challenge, the experience, and loyalty to my country,” Bray said at the time. “I haven’t been let down a day.” She didn’t let us down, either. Linda is a Spanish name that means “pretty.”
Capt. Kristen M. Griest is one of the first two women to complete Army Ranger School and earn their Ranger tabs in 2015. She along with the inspiration for our next name, 1st Lt. Shaye L. Haver, graduated from West Point. Griest was a military police platoon leader but saw the possibility for her to accel as a Ranger. Kristen is a Danish name that means “a Christian.”
1st Lt. Shaye L. Haver was an AH-64 Apache pilot before attending Ranger school. “The reasons I chose to come were the same as the men here: to get the experience of the elite leadership school and to give me the opportunity to lead my Soldiers the best that I can,” Haver told the Army Times. “I think if females continue to come to this course, they can be encouraged by what we have accomplished, but hopefully they’re encouraged by the legacy that the Ranger community has left.” 30 women have followed in Haver and Griest’s footsteps. Shaye is an Irish name that means “the dauntless one.”
Pauline Cushman was born in 1833 in New Orleans, Louisiana as Harriet Wood. She later moved to New York to become an actor and used her skills to pass herself off as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. As a spy, she was able to obtain battle plans and drawings and smuggle them out in her shoes. She was tried and sentenced to execution by the Confederate forces. Three days before her execution, Union troops attacked in time to save her. Pauline is a French name that means small.
Helen Fairchild was born in 1884 and was a nurse who served in WWI and became famous for her letters to her friends and family depicting the real horrors and violence of the war. She was stationed in heavily battered frontlines for much of the war and was even exposed to mustard gas. Although she was not a soldier, her selflessness makes her a hero. Helen is a Greek name that means “bright.”
Irene Englund was born in El Paso Texas and then raised in California. She was an aviator who piloted military aircraft during WWII as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. She served for 18 months transporting air inspectors and medical patients, ferrying military aircraft, and towing aerial gunnery targets to free men for combat overseas. Most women were not given the status of a veteran after their service, but Englund received from the military. The name Irene is Greek and means “peace.”
Nancy Harkness Love was born February 14th, 1914 in Houghton, Michigan. At an early age, she gained an intense interest in aviation, and earned her pilot’s license at the age of sixteen. Like Irene Kinne Englund, Love was a member of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), in which she became an Executive for all ferrying operations. She oversaw women piloting all types of planes in the military’s arsenal. Nancy is a Hebrew name that means “grace.”
Jacqueline Cochran was one of the most gifted racing pilots of her generation. She was also an important member of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and Women Airforce Services Pilots. “Jackie,” as she was called, worked with Amelia Earhart to open pilot racing for women, which allowed her to set a new national speed record. Following WWII, her legacy helped open many doors for women. Jacqueline is a French name that means “supplanter.”
Elaine Niggemann was a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. She provided excellent care to the wounded after they entered evacuation hospitals. She saved many lives. The name Elaine means “bright” and has French origins.
Senator Ladda Tammy Duckworth is an American politician and retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel serving as the junior United States Senator from Illinois since 2017. She is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who was among the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She goes by Tammy and we’re very fond of it. The name has Hebrew origins and means “date palm tree.”
Radio talk show host, Robin Quivers was a captain in the Air Force. Quivers got her degree in nursing from The University of Maryland and put it to use by joining the military as a “Second Lieutenant” after college. She quickly climbed the ranks, and when she was discharged in 1978, her official title was “captain.” The name Robin is English and means “bright fame.”
The movie, Megan Leavey, is based on the true story of a Marine who fought to adopt Sgt. Rex, the bomb-sniffing dog with whom she had served in Iraq. Megan Leavey and the dog saved many lives while deployed in Iraq. Today, both can be found at Yankee Stadium where they continue to make people safe from bombs. Megan is a Welsh name that means “pearl.”
Before Capt. Kathryn Hire became an astronaut and started operating robotic arms in space and doing research while orbiting the earth in the SpaceLab, she served as a pilot in the US Navy. She was the first female in the military to be assigned to a combat aircrew. Kathryn is one of our favorite names for girls! The name has Greek origins and means “pure.”
There you go! We hope you enjoyed these baby names inspired by some of country’s bravest heroes. This soldiers risked it all so that we can live freely. Thank you for your service and for advancing the possibilities in the military for millions of women who follow you.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Sarah
- 2 24. Ann
- 3 23. Elsie
- 4 22. Cathay
- 5 21. Eileen
- 6 20. Deborah
- 7 19. Bea
- 8 18. Grace
- 9 17. Harriet
- 10 16. Mary
- 11 15. Agnes
- 12 14. Marcella
- 13 13. Linda
- 14 12. Kristen
- 15 11. Shaye
- 16 10. Pauline
- 17 9. Helen
- 18 8. Irene
- 19 7. Nancy
- 20 6. Jacqueline
- 21 5. Elaine
- 22 4. Tammy
- 23 3. Robin
- 24 2. Megan
- 25 1. Kathryn
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