By NANCY KARRICK
Special to Atmore News
A ceremony, beautiful in its simplicity, yet full of pageantry and prayer, was held at the Judson Indian Cemetery in Atmore on May 7, to honor John A. Rikard. The ceremony was planned and executed by the Electra Semmes Colston Chapter 193, United Daughters of the Confederacy, The Society of the Order of the Southern Cross, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camps of South Alabama, who were all wearing Confederate uniforms, Judson Indian Cemetery, and descendants of Rikard.
John Rikard served in Private Company G 36th Alabama Infantry of the Confederate States Army and was killed in action and buried on site in Atlanta. The exact location of his grave is not known. The ceremony was held to dedicate a memorial headstone, and is placed in the family plot at the Judson Indian Cemetery.
Judy Blackwell, president of the Electra Semmes Colston Chapter 193, UDC, was the presiding official, and was assisted by chapter chaplain Diane Havens and chapter historian Sandra Rackard. The program included a posting and retiring of the colors by McRae’s Artillery, pledges to the United States, Alabama, Confederate, and Christian flags which were led by Diane Waite, chapter vice president. As they sat under the huge oak trees, with the wind gently blowing the flags, attendees listened to a recording of the song “Legend of the Rebel Soldier.” Direct descendants Robert McMillan and Brady Rackard unveiled the memorial headstone and placed a wreath. Family members placed roses at the grave, followed by a musket salute by McRae’s Artillery. As the smoke from the rifles drifted away, Robert McMillan and his son, SVC Cadet Robert Lee McMillan, bell ringer, did a roll call of the Confederate dead buried in Judson Indian Cemetery.
A three-cannon salute, followed by Taps, the benediction, and retiring the colors completed the ceremony for Private John A. Rikard, Confederate States Army, who died on 29 July, 1864.