Like most Americans September 11, 2001 is burned into ex-pat Dawn Dromgool's memory.

Waking up early in Aspen, Colorado 15 years ago, the now Kaitkati resident said she had a feeling and turned on CNN - something she rarely did.

A man was being interviewed in a tower that overlooked the Twin Towers in New York City, talking as thick black smoke billowed from the tower that had just been hit by a plane.

She watched live as a second plane smashed into the second tower.


"I was just numb in disbelief. They had been saying the first crash was an accident. Now it wasn't an accident."

Ms Dromgool said she had always felt safe living in the United States and something like this was beyond imaginable.

In Aspen Ms Dromgool lived near the airport and the usual noise of planes landing and taking off was "eerily quiet", as all commercial air traffic had been grounded.

However, the next day Ms Dromgool saw a plane belonging to Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who live din Aspen, take off from the airport.

"His plane leaving the airport was interesting, at a time when President Bush's own father was not able to fly home."

In 28 formerly classified pages of the 9/11 report, revealed in July this year, links were established between a key al-Qaeda operative and the ASPCOL Corporation that managed the affairs of Prince Bandar's residence in Colorado.

Ms Dromgool said she would spent the 15th anniversary of 9/11 remembering the victims and saying a prayer, knowing the pain of the survivors and loved ones was still ongoing.

Ms Dromgrool moved to New Zealand five years ago.

Owning a travel agency in the US she travelled the world but on her first visit to New Zealand she fell in love with the place and people and thought 'this is where I want to retire.'

She said since living here she has a different perspective of the USA and feels safer here.