By: Teresa Mull

As our nation celebrates Veterans Day, GPM shares a service man and woman’s thoughts on why they chose to serve and what they love about their country.

Melanie Dean served as a Marine and is employed by the National Association for Gun Rights:

“Serving my country was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made. I believe in our country, our flag, and our Constitution. It’s not a choice as much as it’s a calling – an inherent desire to protect the foundations of America, and the people that depend on its freedoms every day. Aside from raising my children, I consider being a Marine the most important achievement of my life.

“I’ve since traded my rifle for a keyboard (and my dress blues for a suit), but that hasn’t diminished my integrity, or my passion to protect the people of our nation from all enemies – both foreign and domestic. To do so means protecting our Second Amendment. Without it, our people are defenseless against the horrors a pen can exact. I knew my calling to defend our Constitution was unyielding and, just as before, I will give all that I have to protect our God-given rights.

“Too many people are dying in horrific acts of violence, and nine times out of ten they are unable to defend themselves due to unconstitutional laws. Laws that are enacted by politicians who have forgotten what our Founding Fathers fought so hard to provide us. Knowing countless patriots came before me and died defending our liberty, I can’t let their sacrifice be in vain. I will never sit quietly; I will charge the frontlines and lead by example.

“I have a love for shooting that will never die out. My new favorite handgun is the Sig Sauer P320; it’s convenient, balanced, and comfortable. That said, there is something I love about dropping into the prone position with a Savage MSR 10. It just depends on the day!”

Jordan Mason left the U.S. Navy as a Cryptologic Technical Technician 3rd Class, after serving from 2003-2007:

“Unlike most nations, our forefathers guaranteed our right to repeal tyranny and to protect our homes, our families, and ourselves – a right so precious, men have laid down their lives for future generations to enjoy a better world than they knew.

“What is most surprising today, is that in the course of only a little over 240 years, our nation has only seen bloodshed in its home on two occasions, when most nations will see it once a generation. And with that, of all the countries and nations that have been formed, it’s been the United States who, in recent years, has so easily given up our ‘essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety,’ by restricting this most fundamental right – one that has been paid for in blood.

“I was privileged to serve with our NATO allies in Estonia during the first year they joined our union in the 2004 Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG), and upon entering Tallin, Estonia that year, the feeling of liberty was still fresh in the minds of a nation grateful to be free of their previous Russian oligarchs. But they were still quite cognizant of how fragile such freedom is. Estonia’s Constitution was written in 1992, and so most, if not all people there my age, had seen or been a part of the fight for independence from Russia.

“Upon pulling up to port, our Naval Intelligence Officer and I were sent to our embassy to coordinate with our U.S. Embassy and allies on any real-time threats in the area before ‘liberty’ was granted to our sailors on the ship. Ironically, our standard uniform for such formal briefings during winter months are dark button-up shirts, with a black tie and our rank and insignia on our left arm shoulders in red – which appears quite similar to the former Committee for State Security officers – more widely known as the KGB.

“After returning from our briefing and wanting to stop for a quick meal, we were quickly met with resistance, with a restaurant slamming a door in our face, a street vendor walking away, and finally others telling us ‘Kay-Jay-Bah – no welcome.’ We immediately verified this issue with our embassy upon returning to our ship, and our men were required NOT to wear our ‘Johnny Cash’ uniforms (as we casually referred to them), due to the sensitivity that Estonians had towards the appearance of KGB in their nation. It was eye-opening, and it was a wonderful experience that I wish more Americans could have. We must never forget how blessed we are to live in such freedom, and we must never take our Second Amendment rights for granted.

“The point I truly want to make is the same as Reagan’s: We must fight for our right to bear arms, because we are only ever a generation away from losing our liberty.”

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at