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Paladin (a champion of cause)


Professional gunfighter Paladin was a West Point graduate who, after the Civil War, settled into San Francisco's Hotel Carlton, where he awaited responses to his business card: over the picture of a chess knight is written "Have Gun, Will Travel...Wire Paladin, San Francisco."—Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>


My husband is a great fan of old western shows: Maverick, Gunsmoke, Bonaza, and, of course, Have Gun - Will Travel which features a gunslinger by the name of Paladin.


Until recently, I assumed that the word “paladin” was an obscure man’s name. I was writing an article for a friend and researching synonyms of the word “hero” when I came across the French word “paladin” meaning warrior.


Anyone who fights hard for something they believe in can be called a paladin, although the word has old-fashioned associations. While the French word paladin means warrior, it was used specifically starting in the late 1500s to mean "one of the 12 knights in attendance on Charlemagne." As time went on, its meaning grew to include any chivalrous or heroic person. https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/paladin


Have Gun – Will Travel was produced and originally broadcast by CBS on both television and radio from 1957 through 1963. Paladin dressed in a black and wore a Colt .45 six-shooter in a distinctive holster embossed with a metal image of a chess knight, a piece associated with medieval knights in armor. Paladin is known for his classic stare and one-liners such as “Leave it be. It’s done.” The show even boasts a ballad:


Have gun, will travel reads the card of a man, A knight without armor in a savage land. His fast gun for hire, heeds the calling wind, A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin. Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? Paladin, Paladin, far, far, from home. He travels on to wherever he must: A chess knight of silver is his badge of trust. There are campfire legends that the plainsmen spin Of the man with the gun, of the man called Pa-l-l-l-l-a-din. Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? Paladin, Paladin, far, far, from home.


In our modern world, we need more paladins: men and women who will courageously fight for a just cause. There are video game covers, movie titles, employment contracts, articles, stories, and the list could continue that include the words “just cause.” On a personal level, I would like the term to become part of my heartbeat. Where there is a problem, and I am given a platform, whether created by someone else or myself, I want to be a paladin.


Tonya Jewel "Paladin" Blessing



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