ENMU Instructor honors McCain

A trio of musicians played their part in a nationwide event on Sept. 2 to honor the late Sen. John McCain.

​Clovis residents Tyleen Caffrey, Roman Romero and Vincent Soule played “Taps” at Lawn Haven Memorial Gardens Cemetery while hundreds of trumpeters and buglers simultaneously sounded the traditional military song at various locations across the country. The event called Taps Across the Nation, paid tribute to McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war and Republican presidential nominee, whose burial took place at the same time at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

​Caffrey, an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University, learned about the event through her membership in the group Bugles Across America. Event organizers recruited musicians from across the country to play in unison with McCain’s graveside ceremony. The 81-year-old senator from Arizona died Aug. 25, after a 13-month battle with cancer.

​“I thought it would be an honor to be part of this mission to pay tribute to a hero like Sen. McCain,” Caffrey said.

​Caffrey said she has played trumpet since sixth grade and is a member of the Clovis Community Band. She has played “Taps” at military funerals and other events for more than two decades. In May, Caffrey and Romero played for the Clovis Memorial Day ceremony.

​The trio’s rendition of “Taps” honoring McCain was uploaded to the Taps Across the Nation Facebook page, along with videos from across the country. The idea was organized by Patricia Konyha, a trumpeter and Air Force veteran in Wichita, Kan. Konyha reported 217 musicians “sounded ‘Taps’” in 45 states.

​Caffrey said she was impressed by the response from so many buglers to take part in the event, especially on a holiday weekend.

​“From a 12-year-old boy scout to a 93-year-old veteran,” Caffrey said, “People took a break from their Labor Day weekend to honor Sen. McCain. It’s amazing.”

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