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Twenty-six years ago today, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors in Cleveland. On this date in 1944, a U.S. Navy torpedo bomber was shot down in the Pacific, killing the radioman and the gunner, but sparing the 20-year-old pilot, who was rescued by a Navy submarine. His name, of course, was George H.W. Bush.

And it was 120 years ago today, while visiting the Minnesota State Fair, that an earlier American vice president who later became president uttered perhaps his most famous line -- even if it wasn't mentioned contemporaneously in the local press.

"A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick -- you will go far,'" Theodore Roosevelt said that day. "If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble; and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power. … So it is with the nation."

Wise words, but not ones always followed by subsequent U.S. commanders-in-chief. 

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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