It was originally called Armistice Day, named for the armistice between the allied nations and Germany that went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, ending World War I. (Ah yes, "the war to end all wars.") President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day a holiday in America the following year.
It's still celebrated in France as Armistice Day and in England both as Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. In the United States it has morphed into Veterans Day. The change was made in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to commemorate the soldiers who fought in World War II. Since then, we've acquired more veterans to honor, and honor them we do.
Here's a good gloss on the history of Veterans Day. Eisenhower proclaimed that public buildings would display the American flag. Banks and government offices close at 11:00 a.m. Speeches are given. Wreaths are lain on graves.
But veterans are still with us, thank goodness, and today we honor the living. Business goes on as usual in lots of places. Maybe that's thanks to those vets.