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An Evening with Admiral William H. McRaven: The Hero Code

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, June 7, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0605
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Admiral William H. McRaven and Walter Isaacson (Photo: Holly Reed, NA)

It’s been ten years since Admiral McRaven launched the successful raid against Osama bin Laden. And it’s been a few years since he extolled us to “make our beds” as a way to get the day started with an accomplishment. To us he is a hero, but as as a young boy growing up in Texas, Bill McRaven only dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the Earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went—and none of them had superpowers, much less capes or cowls. But each possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity. Turns out, the hero code is not a cypher, a puzzle, or a secret message. It is a code of conduct; lessons in virtues that can become the foundations of our character as we build a life worthy of honor and respect.

Join Admiral McRaven, U.S. Navy (Ret.)-- in conversation with Walter Isaacson, author and professor of history at Tulane University-- about what it means to be a hero. Given his record of service to his country as leader of the United States Special Operations Command, it’s not a cliché to say it takes one to know one.

His book The Hero Code: Lessons Learned From Lives Well Lived (Grand Central Publishing) is available for purchase.

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