Twenty years ago, the world was an incredibly different place. Elon Musk could've been a cologne, surgical masks weren’t everyday carry items, and an iPhone trademark made by Apple went almost completely unnoticed for the next five years.
None of that was news because, honestly, pretty much only one thing was.
The “War on Terror” was everywhere. As a college student at the time, I couldn’t ignore that friends around me were considering careers in the military before they might be drafted, nor could I forget the “freedom fries” my school's union now offered. As an intern for a major brokerage with home offices at the former World Trade Center in the early 2000s, I reconsidered my career path, not knowing if a crippling recession would worsen and how Wall Street and the rest of the world would ever recover from an unbelievable shock. (I definitively decided finance wouldn’t be for me after calling countless clients into our offices to tell them that major chunks of their retirement accounts effectively evaporated overnight and to postpone their future for at least five years.)
And people were pissed. Super pissed. That coalesced into two fervent ideas that permeated popular culture in the early 2000s: America was always good, and to hell with anyone else who thought otherwise.
That’s how this time machine likely came to life: a 2001 Ford F-150 XL with a handful of modifications that make it period-correct in every respect. From the custom paintwork—including Osama Bin Laden with a bullseye painted on his head, George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani in similar visionary poses, and a recreation of 9/11's horror on the topper’s rear glass—it’s everything many of us remember from 2001 and 2002, with a lift. Understand the time, and you understand the truck.
The truck itself is up for sale for less than $10,000 in Grand Junction, Colorado, and being a Colorado native myself, I can say it’s probably not the only pickup sporting three American flags on the Western Slope. That’s not a judgment of the truck or its previous and future owner; it’s an observation of how many people think in Western Colorado. After all, they elected Lauren Boebert twice.
As a rolling political statement, the truck is polarizing—to say the least. As a time capsule of what flyover country in the U.S. was like to live in 20 years ago? It’s on target.
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