Cathedral bells to be rung 100 times on Veterans Day

  • NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen presented a stone from President Obama to the Cathedral of the Pines on Monday. The stone is to be set in the Altar of the Nation, a war monument. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Nicholas Handy

Saturday, November 10, 2018 1:34PM

“At the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month…”

A chant that most school children in the 1950s and 60s would reply when asked when World War I ended. As we approach the 100th anniversary of that event, some groups are working to build a memorial to those lost in that war.

But over 90 years ago, the U.S. government commissioned a memorial to those lost in “The Great War.” Leonard Craske, best known for his “They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships” memorial to the Gloucester fishermen, was contracted to create the monument. He created a model for the memorial, known as the “Ecce Homo,” with Jesus on a cross looking down at a dying soldier. The soldier has the same wounds as Jesus and is dressed in a uniform that has no rank or insignia that would identify his country or branch of service.

Today, that model of the ”Ecce Homo” can be found at Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge. The name of this statue of the crucifixion stands for “Behold the Man.”

After he finished this model, Craske, for some unknown reason, didn’t like the final arrangement so he broke the contract and never delivered the statue. He spent the rest of his life looking for a place to leave the ”Ecce Homo” model. In 1950, his driver brought him to the then five-year-old Cathedral of the Pines. He talked at some length with Douglas Sloane III and his wife Sybil – co-founders of Cathedral of the Pines – about how the Cathedral started in memory of their son lost during World War II. Craske went home and changed his will to leave the model, the casting, and all rights to the “Ecce Homo” to Cathedral of the Pines. His mission completed, he died three weeks later.

Visitors today can see this extraordinary model in the Booras Museum at Cathedral of the Pines. On the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it will be placed on the Chaplains’ Altar in the Hilltop House for the annual Veterans’ Day celebration.

The Chaplains’ Altar is dedicated to the four chaplains who lost their lives to save other military and civilian personnel when the SS Dorchester went down after being torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II.