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AMM Comment: The past still lives in our minds and actions

Keywords: Tags  AMM Comment, John Ambrosia

When William Faulkner wrote that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” chances are he wasn’t thinking about the steel industry. But nevertheless, the idea applies quite well. Without an awareness of metals history and at least living partially under the shadow that it casts, forward progress would not be possible.

This issue contains a lot of the past, and that history certainly is very much alive. This year, AMM celebrates its 130th year, and stories in this issue and throughout 2012 reinforce connections to the continuum of history. During the first half of the year, AMM launched its Steel Hall of Fame and inducted 13 members; we ran a story celebrating the centenary of the development and application of stainless steel; and this month we feature a look at steel museums. As Lisa Gordon reports (page 22), “Regardless of size, each location serves as a living testament to the awareness of how important it is to preserve the industry’s heritage. While modern marvels like the Internet might connect the world, it is steel that holds it together.”

It has been true for more than a century that America recognizes the vital contributions that iron and steel have made to its growth and development. The ongoing effort to preserve the history and heritage of the steel industry is a testament to that respect. There are museums scattered across the country dedicated to preserving and honoring the history and heritage of the industry and educating future generations on how molten iron runs through the nation’s veins, Gordon writes.

Why is this important? For one thing, it is impossible to know thoroughly where to go next without an understanding of where we’ve been. For another, celebrating and meditating upon the breakthroughs of previous generations provides confidence when striding forward with new ventures and risks. Standing on the shoulders of giants can provide breathtaking vistas.

If you live or will be traveling near one of the steel museums featured in this issue—or one you know of that we didn’t get to this time around—take the time to visit it and reflect on the story of this important industry and why it still matters, and visit AMM’s Steel Hall of Fame at Think about the past not as something to be viewed in the rear-view mirror, but as a parallel highway that beckons to us even as we speed forward on our own paths.

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