Timberlake Reflects on Marine Corps Ball

WASHINGTON — The blo­gos­phere is still rever­ber­at­ing with Justin Timberlake’s glow­ing account of his expe­ri­ence attend­ing the 236th Marine Corps Birth­day Ball in Rich­mond, Va.

Marine Corps Cpl. Kelsey De San­tis applauds along with her date, pop star and actor Justin Tim­ber­lake, and guest speak­er retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ralph Larsen at the 236th Marine Corps Birth­day Ball in Rich­mond, Va., Nov. 12, 2011.
U.S. Marine Corps pho­to by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos
Click to enlarge

“The event … turned out to be one of the most mov­ing evenings I’ve ever had,” the pop singer and actor wrote in a blog post on his web­site after attend­ing the Nov. 12 event. Marine Corps Cpl. Kelsey De San­tis invit­ed Tim­ber­lake to her unit’s ball this sum­mer via YouTube. She jok­ing­ly told him that if he couldn’t attend, “All I have to say is, cry me a riv­er!” � a ref­er­ence to Timberlake’s hit sin­gle.

Tim­ber­lake said he felt flat­tered by the invi­ta­tion and went into the evening know­ing he “would have an evening that I wouldn’t for­get” to share with his friends.

“What I didn’t know was how moved I would be by the whole expe­ri­ence,” he wrote.

Tim­ber­lake had spe­cial words for his date, who he said went out of her way to ensure he enjoyed him­self. “I have to tell you, it’s not every day that I meet a 23-year old girl and she’s more wor­ried about if I’m hav­ing fun or if I’m com­fort­able,” he wrote.

He said he loved meet­ing De San­tis’ friends, and felt an imme­di­ate con­nec­tion with them.

“It hit me all of a sud­den that these were the type of peo­ple that look after us and our free­dom — hum­ble, con­cerned for oth­ers before them­selves,” he wrote. “This was the type of per­son our Marine Corps was build­ing. I was real­ly blown away.”

Tim­ber­land said he’s been lucky to have met many of his heroes, from Michael Jor­don to Michael Jack­son.

“And, noth­ing makes me feel more hon­or and pride than when I get to meet one of you,” he wrote in his blog to the men and women in uni­form. “Last night changed my life and I will nev­er for­get it,” he wrote. “Thank you, Cor­po­ral Kelsey De San­tis. Thank you for invit­ing me. And, thank you for being my hero.”

De San­tis has been mak­ing the media rounds, shar­ing her impres­sions of her date with Tim­ber­land.

She said she was par­tic­u­lar­ly struck by his reac­tion to a video played dur­ing the ball that showed his­toric events that drew the Marine Corps into action, includ­ing Pearl Har­bor, World War II and the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Right after the cer­e­mo­ny, we kind of locked eyes and we were both grate­ful for the things our coun­try stands for and just every­thing that our mil­i­tary has done for us,” De San­tis told ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­i­ca” yes­ter­day.

It was reflect­ed, she said, “not only in the look on his face, but also the look on every­one else’s face and the feel­ing in the entire room.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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