Former St Andrews man Campbell McNeill has lived and worked in Texas for 11 years, and last year became a naturalised US citizen.
However, the 43-year-old former Madras College pupil, who graduated in computer science from Dundee University, will never forget what he was doing the day the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks happened.
“That day I was at work in Edinburgh,” he recalls.
“We were just sitting there. It was relatively quiet. I looked at the BBC news and said ‘holy crap a plane has hit one of the twin towers’!
“The girl sitting next to me said you are talking nonsense.
“Everyone was just dumbfounded.
“That night, I was out for a couple of drinks in the Grassmarket, and there were a couple of American girls at the bar and they were just in tears.
“It was surreal. No one could quite believe it.
“At that point we didn’t know how things were going to change.”
Campbell believes no one could argue against the course of action taken by the US-led coalition to go after al Qaeda.
However, since moving to the USA, he has gained a fresh insight into what 9/11 meant to American society and the “high esteem” held regarding the military – especially in Texas.
“I don’t subscribe to ‘nation building’, but I do prescribe to the best way to stop a problem is to stop it early as possible,” he says.
“We had a guy at work – a veteran – who got blown up in Kandahar by a truck.
“He was very badly injured. People ask if he feels regret. His view is that truck was on its way to his base and would have killed a lot more, or might have made its way somehow to the USA. His mind set was ‘we were there to stop things getting over here’.”
“I think what people who aren’t here don’t see is the esteem that the military are held in in this country.
“Before a football game there will be standing ovations for the military, people fly flags outside their houses, you see 20% discounts for retired or active military.
“But what you’ll also see is mental health problems amongst veterans because of what they’ve seen. I used to play rugby with a guy who would just start crying. He had PTSD.”
Campbell says that to most Americans he speaks to, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan “feels like a defeat” and has given Donald Trump supporters a boost.
He describes the optics as “terrible”. However, he also concedes that America and the west “can’t be the world police force forever”.