On the way to the Prague airport at five in the morning, I asked our friend Vlada to turn on the radio in order to catch the weather forecast. The first announcement we heard was: “Osama bin Laden is dead!” After a brief celebration, I experienced a selfish reaction. “Why couldn’t they have waited a day?” I had been told that the story about me and my book was to run in that morning’s Lidove noviny, one of the largest and most popular newspapers in the Czech Republic. Now, I thought, the story will be pushed into some remote corner of page 83.
After going through security, Sue and I headed to a newstand, where we picked up three copies of the paper. We took them with us to a nearby coffeeshop. We bought our breakfast and prepared to sift through the innards of the paper, in search of the story. Then — surprise! There it was, on the FRONT page! The headline announced, “Strelil ‘nacistu’. Bylo mu devet” (“He Shot a Nazi. He Was Nine”). The article continued on the back page, with photos from the book, plus one of me holding Dlouha cesta domu in my hand. What a finish to a fantastic book launch!
I am grateful to the Navy SEALS, not only for shooting America’s Number One Enemy, but for waiting to announce it long enough to miss the deadlines of Europe’s morning newspapers.