The Ten Years After September 11, 2001


INDYKIDS911webGRAPHIC: Christine Hale

The tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks is being marked with ceremonies to honor the nearly 3,000 victims of that day. The 9/11 memorial in New York City is being dedicated, and elected officials speak of continuing the fight against terrorism.

Right after the 9/11 attacks, the United States government launched two wars, creating tens of thousands more victims, and took away rights and freedoms of people living in the United States, too. Here, IndyKids takes a look at what has happened after, and in the name of, September 11, 2001.



September 11, 2001 (9/11): The U.S. government says that on this day, Islamic extremists killed nearly 3,000 people by hijacking four passenger airplanes. Two flew into the World Trade Center in New York City, one crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the last flew into the Pentagon building in Virginia, where the nation’s military is headquartered.

Stopping hijacked planes was a scenario that had been rehearsed hundreds of times before. Usually when an airplane goes off course, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has fighter jets out within minutes. This did not happen on September 11, 2001.

The United States blamed the attacks on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

PHOTO: Mohammad Popal/IRIN
Ten years after the invasion, a United Nations report says that the Afghanistan is the worst place in the world to be a mother. PHOTO: Mohammad Popal/IRIN

October 7, 2001: U.S. INVADES AFGHANISTAN. President George W. Bush ordered an invasion of Afghanistan, a country in Central Asia, saying that Afghanistan refused to turn over Osama bin Laden and to stop supporting Al Qaeda. “Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.” -President George W. Bush

October 26, 2001: THE WAR AT HOME. President Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act. The law limits the civil liberties (freedoms) of people in the United States. It allows the government to secretly listen to people’s phone calls, read their email messages, search their homes and review their library and bank records. Many people believe this is against the U.S. Constitution. In May 2011, President Barack Obama extended the main parts of the PATRIOT Act.

Decades of war have turned Iraq into one of the worst places for children in the Middle East and North Africa, with around 3.5 million living in poverty, according to UNICEF. PHOTO: IRIN
Decades of war have turned Iraq into one of the worst places for children in the region, with around 3.5 million living in poverty, according to UNICEF. PHOTO: IRIN

March 19, 2003:  U.S. INVADES IRAQ. President George W. Bush said that Iraq, a country in Western Asia, had dangerous “weapons of mass destruction” and that the Iraqi government was linked to the September 11 attacks. Both claims were found to be untrue.

PHOTO: Department of Homeland Security
PHOTO: Department of Homeland Security

The official report on the 9/11 attacks was published. Many people doubt the official version of 9/11 and have called for an independent investigation, which has not yet happened. In 2005, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney held a congressional briefing to examine the 9/11 Commission Report and unanswered questions.

650,000+: Deaths of Iraqi people
6,044: U.S. Troops killed
$4 trillion: Cost to U.S. Taxpayers
46,000: U.S. Troops currently in Iraq
90,000: U.S. Troops currently in Afghanistan

Costs of War Sources: The Lancet, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies; U.S. Department of Defense


Special Registration of Immigrants:
In September 2002, the United States government set up a “Special Registration” program requiring immigrants from certain Middle Eastern and North African countries to come to an immigration office to be fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed. The program recently ended, in April 2011.

PHOTO: David Shankbone
PHOTO: David Shankbone

A December 2010 report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found a low public opinion of Muslim people and increasing discrimination and hate crimes against Muslims, such as beatings and vandalism of mosques. The report noted: “Polls consistently show that a sizable number of Americans hold prejudiced views toward Muslims.”


Guantanamo & Torture:
In January, 2002, the United States government set up a detention camp on a U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The camp is used to hold people from around the world whom the United States government suspects of involvement with terrorism. However, many people held there have not been accused of any crime or tried in court. The United Nations and many other organizations say that prisoners held in Guantanamo are tortured. President Obama said that he would close the prison by 2010, but it remains open with 171 prisoners (as of May 2011).


Osama bin Laden: from Saudi Arabia, he received money and weapons from the United States government in the 1980’s to fight in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union’s occupation. Later, he turned against the United States because he did not like U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia. U.S. forces killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

Al Qaeda: a fringe group that wishes to establish a conservative form of the Islamic religion around the world and overthrow non-Islamic governments

Terrorist: is a person, group or country that uses violence to get political change.

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