After a nationwide backlash, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has apologized for the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) decision to cover a mural painted in memory of 9/11.

Nearly 9 years since the mural’s completion, a spokesman from the Caltrans said the question was raised whether the 35-foot long flag painted above a Northern California highway was on state property. When notified, the Caltrans ordered it be covered saying they do not allow any kind of graffiti on state buildings and would not show favoritism even given the circumstances.

Since the backlash of Caltran’s no-nonsense decision, Schwarzenegger has apologized for the state of California, saying:

“It has come to my attention that Caltrans has recently removed a patriotic and meaningful flag mural that was painted on the side of Interstate 680 following the tragic events of 9-11. To do so only days before we celebrate our independence and reflect on the freedoms we are lucky enough to enjoy in America is unconscionable. I extend my apologies to the artists whose mural inspired drivers along 680 for over eight and a half years.”