Tree planted on Oahu in honor of child victim of Sandy Hook massacre
Six-year-old Jesse Lewis was one of the 26 victims in the Sandy Hook shooting one year ago today.
His death sent his family on a mission of peace.
KITV spoke with the Lewis family about the healing in which Hawaii now plays a small part.
“It was phonetically spelled in 6-year-old handwriting but the message to me was clear,” said Scarlett Lewis.
The words were nurturing, healing, love. Three words the first-grader scrawled on a chalkboard in the family's home two days before he died when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
“It was a message of comfort for his family and friends, but it was also a message of inspiration for the world,” said Lewis.
Lewis wrote a book about teaching love and compassion. Her message is what brought her to Hawaii three weeks ago as the keynote speaker at a peace conference at the University of Hawaii hosted by Maya Soetoro-Ng.
While on Oahu, Lewis and her family planted four trees on private property in Jesse's honor.
“Scarlett named them all,” said Kelley Oshiro, with the Children for Peace organization. “'Love,' 'Healing' and 'Nurturing.' Then we have a plant named Jesse.”
“We were laughing, it was really a fun, joyous occasion because we were celebrating Jesse’s life,” said Oshiro.
“I received so much love back from the people of Hawaii,” said Lewis. “And I feel like I’m part of all of Hawaii’s ohana.”
On this first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, Scarlett said she planned to spend the day quietly with family, remembering all that Jesse was, and what he loved.
“I just remember him wanting to go out and buy a Christmas tree early. And thank goodness, I did,” said Lewis.
Despite the darkness of the day, Lewis said she's choosing love and hopes to set an example for others to forgive and do the same.
One of the reminders of Hawaii the Lewis family brought home with them was a puppy given to them by a local family.
The dog is named Olivia, which, they said, sounds like "I love."
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