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The USS Turner Joy, all 418 feet of it, is one of the longest ships to traverse the Ballard Locks. But presumably its recent trip from Bremerton was nowhere near as harrowing as the Seattle-built naval destroyer’s momentous patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964, the incident that entered the U.S. in the Vietnam War. The ship was decommissioned in 1982; its recent journey to Lake Union for dry dock repairs left Bremerton temporarily without the floating naval monument (and classic field trip destination). This month’s Fourth of July fireworks over the Turner Joy’s temporary Lake Union home recall our original fight for freedom—and the complicated struggle we’ve waged in its name ever since.

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