A nearly half-ton piece of the World Trade Center twin towers is the centerpiece of a new 9/11 Memorial Garden in Gig Harbor. It was dedicated at the Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One department headquarters on Monday -- the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The memorial includes a 986-pound piece of steel from Ground Zero.

Pierce County Sheriff's deputies carefully lifted an American flag off the metal artifact, which is mounted on a platform, during the dedication ceremony.

"It is my hope and prayer that this memorial serves as a reminder of what happened that fateful day, September 11, 2001," said Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One Chief John Burgess.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks.

"Of those souls lost," Burgess noted, "343 were firefighters, and 72 were police officers."

The Gig Harbor Fire Department requested the metal artifact from the Port Authorities of New York and New Jersey in 2009. A team of local firefighters traveled across the country to bring it back.

"We would ask that this piece of steel, every time we see it, remind us that freedom is costly and not necessarily free," said Chaplain Mark Suko.