TACOMA, Wash. - A bible, the beauty and symbolism of a stained glass window and the celebration of freedom. These are the liberties Tacoma Pastor Dean Curry is thankful for.
"I'm certainly thinking about how grateful I am that I live in America and that we all have all the freedoms that we do," says Curry from his church, the Life Center.
Just last week, Curry was walking the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, protected by a bullet proof vest with a documentary filmmaker in tow. Curry and a six member delegation from the Canadian human rights group One Free World International spent five days in the war zone advocating for women's equality and religious freedom.
"They don't start with the presumption of equality. You've got to get them there," said Curry.
But he was pleasantly surprised to see our soldiers have already paved the way.
"Whatever women's rights there are right now, we can thank the American troops. Whatever religious freedom we have, we can thank the American troops," says Curry.
Curry met with women once afraid to speak who are now speaking out and girls attending school.
"It was not legal for girls to go to school before the American troops showed up," says Curry.
Pastor Curry says the mission was initially all about freedom and equality in Afghanistan, but he learned some other lessons, too, that he plans to share with his congregation on the Fourth of July.
"We'll try to get people to walk out of here more love, more accepting, more gracious," says Curry.
Curry says he's forever changed with a new sense of gratitude this Independence Day.
"It made me more grateful for our system of government and how hard we've all fought for the freedoms we have."