Prospect students host firefighter on 9/11

By KRISTEN HART  Banner Intern
Posted 9/12/17

Aaron Hicks, a local firefighter and EMT, visited Prospect Elementary School on Monday to speak to fifth-graders about 9/11 and the first responders who gave their lives that day.

Hicks has …

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Prospect students host firefighter on 9/11

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Aaron Hicks, a local firefighter and EMT, visited Prospect Elementary School on Monday to speak to fifth-graders about 9/11 and the first responders who gave their lives that day.

Hicks has visited the elementary school on Sept. 11 for the last three years.

He opened his discussion by jokingly asking the class where they were on the day of the terrorist attack.

The response given was a room filled with laughs and many called out, “I wasn’t born yet!”

Hicks continued to explain what 9/11 was and why the day is remembered in the U.S.

“[9/11] was an attack,” Hicks said to the students. “It was bad guys doing bad things to good people.”

Hicks talked about all the first responders who had died that day and also those who died because of what they were exposed to sometime after. He emphasized that not all the deaths caused by the attack happened on just that day.

He was a senior in high school on the day of the attacks and was at the time planning to become a teacher. He was at Prospect Elementary on that morning to observe a class.

Hicks visits Nashville each year to participate in an event where he and 342 other firemen climb 110 flights of stairs wearing their gear, in order to honor the firemen who gave their lives.

Students presented Hicks with letters they wrote for him to give to other first responders.

Colby Ownbey, a fifth-grade teacher at Prospect, was a fourth-grade student at Prospect on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Ninety percent of the students had never even heard of [9/11] until the beginning of last week, so it’s important to me that the first responders are remembered and that the students understand what happened that day,” Ownbey said.

Ownbey hoped that hearing from Hicks would help the students gain an appreciation for first responders and a better understanding of how the world works.

“(Firefighters) are a family.” Hicks said. “All firefighters, it doesn’t matter where we’re at, we’re a family.” 

Hicks plans to return to the school next year, and would like to continue to speak with the fifth-grade class for as long as he is able.

“It’s important to be open and honest with these kids so that they truly grasp what happened, so that the memory of it stays alive,” Hicks said.

Students were also given the assignment last week to talk to their parents or others about 9/11, and to ask about where they were at the time of the attacks.

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