When I was very little, I remember the joy of reading, because it opened up a whole new world for me. I clearly recall being in church each Sunday, at the beautiful Missions To Seamen Church called St Nicholas in Calcutta - and suddenly being able to read the brass plaques on the walls, between the high, narrow, arched windows.
One plaque honoured the memory of a sailor who had sacrificed his own life to save a shipmate who had fallen overboard. The inscription at the bottom of the memorial plaque read: "Great love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for a friend."
Those first five words are central to a very solemn part of Melbourne, the city that I have lived in for the past 20 years. In the Shrine of Remembrance on St Kilda Road, there is a special reverence that is hard to describe. This marble inscription is at the heart of the Shrine's interior and it has a very significant meaning.
When the Shrine was built, the architects were helped by calculations relating to astronomy and mathematics. The intricate design means that a ray of sunlight shines through the high atrium on a special commemorative day, to illuminate the word "love".
That day is the 11th of November each year. And the ray of light strikes the word "love" at exactly 11am, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The calculations ensured that this accuracy would endure for 5000 years.
But then the state of Victoria introduced daylight saving - which in turn meant that the careful calculations would be thwarted. That's when all sorts of solutions were considered - and the simplest one was put in place.
Now, a simple prism refracts the light ray by exactly one hour. And at the appointed time on Armistice Day, the sunlight still illuminates the word "love".
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