At the same time, he wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. In 1989, while in Northern Ireland to tape a special program, Lou was asked to speak to the citizens of Derry (or Londonderry as it is sometimes known). The opposing forces of “the troubles” agreed to not bomb the Rialto Theatre while Lou spoke, and Lou agreed to no speaking fee. He made a deal with his audience: if they liked what he had to say, then the only payment he wanted was for them to sing “Danny Boy” to him.
Earlier in the day, Lou and Diane had been given a tour of the bombed-out city. “They weren’t even bothering to clean up, because they knew buildings would just be bombed again,” he would relate later. So that night, at the Rialto Theatre, Lou described what he had seen that day. And then he, famously, asked, “Is this the kind of Derry that you want?” The silence was deafening. Nobody had ever asked that question before. “I finished up my speech and wasn’t sure if I would need to be hustled from the stage,” as Lou would tell the story. “But it must have been OK, because they stood up sang me the most beautiful rendition of ‘Danny Boy’ I had ever heard.”
Lou’s official Pacific Institute biography has often called him a “catalyst for change.” Perhaps it was not Lou himself that acted as a catalyst, but the education he and Diane created so long ago that has allowed individuals and organizations to free themselves from self-imposed restrictions and move forward to achieve goals never before thought possible. “It’s ‘freedom for’ rather than ‘freedom from’,” Lou would often say, and the results achieved around the world, in millions of lives, would agree.