91/11/2001: The Day That Changed America
The Fight for Freedom
By Steph Smith
Reprinted from Scholastic News Senior Edition, November 5, 2001

Hot on the Trail
Hunting down terrorists will be the job for Special Operations or Special Forces. Special Forces refers to several specially trained military groups.These soldiers train very hard. Only about 30 percent of those who begin the training finish.

Trainees learn to:
  • scale large ships carrying 100 pounds of gear;
  • survive by eating bugs and rodents;
  • go for weeks without sleep;
  • stay still for days at a time.
The search for Osama bin Laden will likely be handled by a group commonly known as Delta Force. Delta Force is an elite group of soldiers trained to track down terrorists and war criminals, and rescue hostages.

How You Can Help!
President Bush has set up a special fund to help needy Afghan children. He is asking every American kid to donate one dollar. "Wash a car. Do a yard for a neighbor," the President says. "This is an opportunity to help others."

If you'd like to help, mail your dollar to:
America's Fund for Afghan Children
c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20509-1600
America's war on terrorism is being fought on many different fronts.

Eight-year-old Amanda Fritz of California doesn't want to see her dad go. But she knows that he is a National Guardsman with a job to do.

"I'm sad, in a way, because I'm going to miss my dad," says Amanda. "But I'm happy in another because he's going to be protecting us."

Her dad is one of thousands of U.S. National Guard troops, soldiers, sailors, fighter pilots, and Marines who are fighting a war against terrorism in America and around the world.

But with no enemy country or government to fight, the U.S. can't win this war with only military might. Instead, it must prevent future attacks at home, and work with other countries to hunt terrorists. The U.S. also must make sure the Muslim World knows that it is not the enemy.

Military Might
President George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism after hijackers flew passenger planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11. Thousands of people were killed.

The U.S. identified terrorist Osama bin Laden (oh-sah-ma bin lah-den) and his organization, Al-Qaeda (al kye-duh), as the prime suspect in the attacks. Bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian man who has been living in Afghanistan in Central Asia.

Afghanistan's leaders, the Taliban (tah-lih-bahn), refused to hand over bin Laden. So the U.S. bombed Afghanistan to weaken the Taliban and damage Al-Qaeda.

U.S. and British bombing destroyed Taliban command posts and defenses, and terrorist training camps. That cleared the way for the U.S. military's elite Special Forces (see sidebar) to hunt down bin Laden on the ground. He is thought to be hiding in caves in Afghanistan's harsh, mountainous terrain.

The U.S. can't win this fight alone. The President has built an international coalition, or group of countries that work together, to fight terrorism. Some countries, like Britain and Australia, have offered to provide military support. Others, like Uzbekistan (see map), will share their airspace and military bases. Many countries will provide information on terrorist activities within their borders.

The U.S. also is working to make sure that Muslim countries—like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia—don't think that the U.S. is fighting Islam. The U.S. has been explaining its goals through phone calls to leaders and personal visits.

Humanitarian Aid
Another way the U.S. is reaching out is through humanitarian aid. U.S. cargo planes dropped tens of thousands of bags of food for starving Afghan people right after bombs hit military targets in the country.

Even before the bombing, the U.S. was the biggest provider of humanitarian aid—food, money, medicine—to Afghanistan. The Afghan people are very poor and have suffered from years of civil war.

"This is our way of saying that while we firmly and strongly oppose the Taliban, we are friends of the Afghan people," President Bush says.

Money Matters
Terrorists' cash is another target.

"Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations," the President says.

Soon after the September 11 attacks, President Bush froze access to U.S. bank accounts belonging to people thought to be aiding terrorist groups. He also asked that other countries take the same steps, and share information with the U.S.

At Home
The U.S. effort to stop terrorism is worldwide, but preventing additional attacks on U.S. soil is the key goal.

Thousands of National Guard troops are patrolling major buildings, train and bus stations, and airports. The FBI has thousands of agents working with state and local police to track down anyone who may be linked to terrorists. The President also created a Cabinet-level position, the Office of Homeland Security, to coordinate anti-terrorism efforts in the U.S. (see page 2).

The Future
The war on terrorism is expected to be a long fight, but Amanda Fritz is sure her dad and the rest of America's fighting forces are doing the right thing. The President thinks so, too.

"To all the men and women in our military—every sailor, every soldier, every airman, every Coastguardsman, every Marine—I say this," he says. "Your mission is defined, your objectives are clear, your goal is just."