Railroad tracks at Grafton, West Virginia today.

GRAFTON, W.Va. (AP) — Historians say it’s important to remember Civil War soldiers were real people whose lives remain relevant today. And they say Grafton National Cemetery is a good place to do it.

Chad Proudfoot of the West Virginia Historical Society says the soldiers were fighting for a cause they believed in, and that’s a timeless value.

The cemetery was created in 1867. Shepherd University history professor Mark Snell tells West Virginia Public Broadcasting that Grafton was chosen because of its proximity to battles.

The town was also a major stop on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

Among the monuments is a 12-foot obelisk that looks like it was draped in a flag.

It’s in memory of Pvt. Thornsbury Bailey Brown, the first Union soldier killed by hostile fire on May 22, 1861.

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